No link Togo tragedy and world cup

10/01/2010 at 12:59 6 comments


The brutal attack on the Togo national football team in Cabinda days before the kick-off of the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola will not have an impact on the 2010 world cup soccer in South Africa. According to the 2010 FIFA local organising committee (LOC) in South Africa, the attack by gunmen – which killed two people and injured two more – is an isolated incident.

“We wish to state that there is no link between what happened in Angola and South Africa’s preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” said Rich Mkhondo in an interview with South Africa’s national press agency SAPA. “We also cannot compare organisation and security in Angola with South Africa just because the two countries happen to be in the same region in the world.”

He added that Africa is a massive continent, not just one country, and that all 53 nations are very different, with different histories, different political structures and different problems. Mkhondo furthermore underlined that the tragedy does not say anything about whether Africa is capable or not to host large sports events. “Africa have successfully hosted three successful FIFA events in the last eight months – the FIFA Confederations Cup in South Africa and the u/17 and u/19 World Cup’s in Nigeria and Egypt,” he said.

Mkhondo said the organisers was confident that the World Cup would be successful.

“We are prepared for any eventuality. Given South Africa’s exemplary record of hosting major events we remain confident that everyone coming to South Africa will have a safe and secure experience in our country.”

Earlier this week, the Togo national football team was ambushed by a separatist militia group after entering Angola’s Cabinda province – one of the venues for the Africa Cup of Nations.  The driver and the spokesperson were killed in the attack, and at least two players were left injured.

Cabinda is a province of Angola, tucked in between neighbouring country DRC and the Congo, and incredibly rich in minerals, oil, and other precious resources. But there has been something brewing in Angola for the past few decades, as many people in the enclave want to be independent from Angola. It is said that about one dozen of separatist groups and movements are operating from Cabinda, of which three  are armed. The Togo team has probably fallen victim to one of those groups.

In the meantime, the Togo government has decided that the Togolese team will withdraw from the Africa Cup of Nations.

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