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Gun attack overshadows Africa Cup of Nations

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Piers Edwards | 11:59 UK time, Sunday, 10 January 2010

Like many fans of African football, I'd long been looking forward to this year's Nations Cup in Angola, especially since it seemed the perfect stepping stone to the World Cup in South Africa later in 2010.

But as I landed here in the capital Luanda on Saturday morning, my emotions, like those of everyone else, were totally flat.

To state the obvious, it was impossible to get excited after three people connected with the tournament had died in Friday evening's shocking machine-gun attack on the Togolese team bus.

The incident took place in the separate (and separatist) enclave of oil-rich Cabinda, split from the main body of Angola by a tiny slither of DR Congo. Togo's assistant coach and press officer, as well as the Angolan coach driver, all tragically passing away.

Sportsmen are seemingly leading a charmed life at present for no Togo player died on Friday, just as no Sri Lankan cricketers died in last year's terror attack in Pakistan, although as you read this, reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale is breathing with the aid of a respirator in a Johannesburg intensive care unit after taking a bullet in his back.

At the time of writing, it seems the Togolese players are going to stay and somehow play on after spending half-an-hour clinging onto their lives as bullets sprayed their bus.The Africa Cup of Nations preparations are going on as normal

"All the players - everyone was crying and saying their last words because they thought they'd be dead," Emmanuel Adebayor told the BBC afterwards.

"A lot of players want to leave. They have seen death and want to go back to their families."

Like some of his team-mates, he said he was going home but that now appears to have changed.

"It is left to you to decide to stay in a competition synonymous with fraternity, brotherhood, friendship and solidarity," Caf president Issa Hayatou told the Togolese squad in the aftermath of the attack.

But that's not quite the whole story for behind the scenes, both Angolan and Nations Cup organisers have been pleading with the Togolese to stay.

Angolan Prime Minister Paulo Kassoma has promised to beef up security for the matches but how can the Togo squad believe this when they were told in the run-up to the tournament by an Angolan minister that security in Cabinda was 'guaranteed'?

It seems wholly inappropriate to put pressure on footballers who survived a near-death experience to play a tournament, which is the least of their concerns when life was flashing before their eyes, but that is what appears to have been happening.

The pressure has - somehow - worked and Togo's players are now singing a different tune to the one that reverberated around the world in the aftermath of the attack.

"People died for this tournament, others were injured. We can't abandon them and leave like cowards," Alaixys Romao told French sports agency L'Equipe.

"If we stay here, it's for them. But also so as not to give satisfaction to the rebels. Our government doesn't necessarily agree with us but we are determined to play in this competition."

Indeed the Togolese government does not want their players to stay in Cabinda, with the West African nation's prime minister upping the ante by declaring that if the players 'present themselves under the Togolese flag, it will be a false representation'.

While this story has no clear end at present, it's revealing to note that there has never been talk by Confederation of African Football officials of scrapping the tournament.

This is a ruling body for whom money talks and with about 80% of Caf's revenue coming from the Nations Cup, it's no surprise at all that no political will has been shown to stop the tournament.

Of course, those in favour of continuing will point out that cancelling the Nations Cup will be a triumph for the rebels, with the attack widely attributed to the separatist rebel group Flec, and so the show must go on.

Either way, this tournament that Angola has long been looking forward to - one which was supposedly giving the southern African nation a chance to show a new face to the world after three decades of civil war ended in 2002 - will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

Most newswire reports that I have read over the last few months in the build-up to the 2010 Nations Cup constantly stated it didn't really matter how well Angola's national team do in the tournament, for the country has already won simply by hosting the finals.

Those words seem very hollow now.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Would completely understand a decision to leave the tournament, although i hope Togo stay and the tournament carries on. I just hope this isn't what is going to happen in SA this summer. I doubt it will but you never know.....

  • Comment number 2.

    The fact that this tournament is going ahead is a shameful indictment of CAF.

    Angola was never a suitable place to hold the tournament and the war torn province of Cabinda (which would actually be part of the Congo had it not had oil) was always trouble waiting to happen as it is awash with guns and "rebels".

    Whoever in CAF was resposnible for the tournament being awarded to this country and allowing matches to be played in Cabinda has the blood of the dead on his/their hands.

    The Togolese authorities have their share in the blame game for putting cost saving above security by ignoring official advice and bussing the players in, rather than flying them in. TYhat said, that advice proves that no games should have been played in the province at all, as CAF knew it wasn't safe!

    Does money mean more than lives?? Cancel the thing now, it is no longer important.

  • Comment number 3.

    2. At 1:03pm on 10 Jan 2010, QPR4Me wrote:

    "Does money mean more than lives?? Cancel the thing now, it is no longer important."

    -------------

    Yes, give in to them and show other like minded fools all over the world how to disrupt these events and get their own way.

    Now the decision is made for it to be in Angola (rightly or wrongly) it must go on.

  • Comment number 4.

    I feel very sorry for the Togolese players. I also feel sorry for Angola in this very horrific incident.
    Africa once again has showcased it darkest side to the whole world. As a Ghanaian I am really concerned about the security of our national team. I heard the rebels have planned further attacks. Let's be certain the security measures being put in place is up to scratch, otherwise come back home Black Stars!

  • Comment number 5.

    austinkid wrote:

    "Yes, give in to them and show other like minded fools all over the world how to disrupt these events and get their own way.

    Now the decision is made for it to be in Angola (rightly or wrongly) it must go on."
    ------------------------------------------

    You missed my point. The only reason Angola got the tournament was because of the money the CAF would get. The same reason why the CAF agreed to hold matches in Cabinda, oil money!

    Their is a word of ten letters in length, that begins with C, that is the only justification of the tournament's location and makes sure that the CAF's pockets are lined with money.

    In the meantime, will you be happy should more people die in the name of a shamed tournament?

  • Comment number 6.

    And UEFA may be making a similar mistake by attempting to host the EURO 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

    That aside, the problem only happened in Cabinda a distance of 346 miles from the nearest host city, the Angolan capital in Luanda (more than the distance from London to Paris which is 213 miles). The other two host cities of Benguela and Lubango are further south still.

    Calls for the entire tournament to be scrapped are ridiculous. It is regrettable that the Angolan government acted so irresponsibly by providing less than adequate security for the Togolese team, knowing fully well there were separatists in that region.

    However, what needs to be done now is the resolve the issue not exacerbate it. Cancelling the tournament will serve no purpose now. With the benefit of hindsight, they might have been better advised to limit the competition to stadia within mainstream Angola and not extend it to the Cabinda region.

    I can understand the players change of mind. Remember these players are Africans and Africans forgive very easily. After the initial shock, there will be anger at the rebels for the unnecessary and stupid interference followed by the desire and determination to show them that they will proceed without fear despite the threats.


    The problem must be addressed in it's proper context - that the security fears are limited to a region more than 300 miles away nit even within the main borders on Angola even though it is an Angolan territory.

    Knee-jerk reactions are not the solution.

  • Comment number 7.

    Starting to all get a little silly. We're going home, we're staying, we're going home, we're staying, we're going home.

    Make a decision and stick with it. As security cannot be guaranteed go home.

  • Comment number 8.

    The scariest thing about this tragedy is that with one rocket propelled grenade, which are unfortunatly all too accessable now a days, and we would be looking at a massacre.
    Adebayor has just said Togo will be going home, after pressure from the Government. To be honest whilst I think politics and football should stay seperate, the right call has been made. The players themselves will be suffering from untold guilt and grief, they may feel a responsibility to play, but the damage it could cause their careers could be catrastrophic.
    It was madness they travelled through that part of Angola with no security, serious questions must be asked, but we all know they won't.
    Let the tournement go ahead, it will be better off without Togo after what they have been through they couldn't hope to play anywhere near their potential.
    Luckily South Africa is much more stable as a country. There will be none of this at the WC.
    Here's to a good football tournement and condolances to the Togolese team who have lost 3 friends.

  • Comment number 9.

    If I may misquote the great Bob Marley (it's in a good cause Bob):

    "You can can please some people sometimes, but you can't please all the people all the time, so now you see the light, stand up for your life!"

  • Comment number 10.

    QPR4me is spot on, it's all about cash. Without the promise of huge amounts of money, Angola would never get to host this tournament. The Angola authorities could not exclude Cabinda form their host cities becuase that's where most of the money comes from.

    As for blamimg security, the teams were told not to travel by road between cities, even worse to cross the Congo-brazaville/Cabinda border by bus was gross negligence by the Togolese.

    Then again it's about saving a few quid, whenever Adebayor comes up against the Togolese authorities he's always condemned as greedy and being a trouble maker. There are times when you just shouldn't cut costs.

  • Comment number 11.

    I think what this tragic incident has proved is that CAF need to limit their focus on allowing the lesser-developed nations (in terms of football infrastructure and history) to host the event in future as many of them have unstable political problems. Whether Angola have been allowed to host this year's tournament because of the financial rewards that CAF will receive, or because CAF genuinely wanted to kick-start the improvement of domestic Angolan football with new stadia and transportation links remains to be seen. CAF knew the risks - especially within Cabinda province - and chose to ignore them or at the very least to hope for the best...

    What has happened is hugely unfortunate for everyone involved, but the show must go on, otherwise we are giving in to any terrorist in our world who wishes to disrupt a major sporting event, and in any case the perpetrators in this instance have received the worldwide exposure to their plight exactly as they wanted. I don't expect further problems and certainly hope there won't be.

    Speaking of the football, tonight's match between Angola and Mali is critical in terms of qualification from Group A, as Algeria will surely be expecting to take the other Quarter Final place. What are your thoughts regarding the likely qualifiers for the Quarter Finals Piers, especially from a very awkward looking Group D?

  • Comment number 12.

    I just hope Togo stays. However, I would perfectly understand if Togo left. I would do the same if my team was attacked somewhere in the world. As Angolan I would very much like to see all teams playing and enjoying their stay here, as a signal of true African Unity. On the other hand, I just think that all media is just overdoing things. 10 years ago world trade center was brought down by terrorists in the most powerful nation of the world. Now this has happened in Angola and people are already questioning the World Cup in South Africa. Mexico hosted the world cup twice but Mexico nowadays is what it is. I wish I could meet personally the commentator at BBC who was saying that Angola should not be awarded the organization for not being a safe place? Is there such thing as a safe place in Africa???

  • Comment number 13.

    I don't think it is fair to say that CAF gave the hosting rights to Angola because of money... It's said without any ounce of evidence or precedent. Its just someone being narrow minded and preferring to see a glass as half empty than half full.
    Also as a nigerian, i know about having volatile regions in a country (Niger delta region of nigeria) but we still hosted some world cup qualifers there. This was done because necessary precaution was taken and I believe the Angolan government has taken a certain amount of precaution, I believe they probably never expected any team to travel by road from Congo to Angola. The Togo FA was completely wrong in making their players to travel by road to Angola, and I believe they should carry most of the blame not Angola. I don't think it is fair the way everyone is bad mouthing Angola right now.
    Finally, I honestly believe that the Angolan govt decided to host the tournment in that region so has to develop it and not because its oil rich. Cos can anybody give me one major problem they would have faced if they didn't host it there. The worst that would have happened, is that the people from there would complain.. thats all

  • Comment number 14.

    I think some people need to get their priorities right; three people were murdered in cold blood. Togo should not stay and if CAF had any scruples the tournament would be cancelled. Deciding not to play football is not giving in to the rebels nor is it letting like minded groups commit similar attrocities at other events; its about taking responsibility for the safety of the participants and showing respect for the three people who died. Also I find it shocking how the Togolese players have been treated by CAF and their own government without much sympathy from either party. The quote from Romao I find unusual; there is no way they could be perceived as cowardly for leaving the tournament 3 of their friends were shot down without warning, they are footballers not soldiers.

  • Comment number 15.

    The rebels breached security and said they will do it again...

    Should they not at least re-schedule this tournament...

    Is money that important?

  • Comment number 16.

    Babajide Alabi

    In the World Youth Championship, Nigeria made sure that no games were played in the Delta due to safety concerns. If Angola and CAF had done the same, we would not be having this discussion today In any case, as I have pointed out, the real blame lies with CAF, it put money before sense and to a certain degree, where I agree with you, with Togo, who cut corners to save money.

    I am not one who would move the World Cup from SA, but I fully expect their authorities to make sure that their criminal element is dealt with or frightened enough to think better of doing stupid things.

    Thanks to the stupidity, and greed, of CAF over this tournament, SA are now left with the added pressure that knowing that should anything seriously go wrong at the World Cup, the continent of Africa will have to wait for a very long time before it is trusted on the World stage again.

  • Comment number 17.

    QPR4ME
    I don't know if u were in Nigeria in 1999. But I am telling you the Niger Delta problem wasn't as it is now. Expatriates working in oil companies moved around freely with out security and used to go to local bars at all hours in the night without fear. The militant issue wasn't a problem in the region then. And if I might correct you, two cities from that region were used for the championship (Port Harcout and Calabar). Even the World U-17 championship last year was held in Calabar

  • Comment number 18.

    Babajide Alabi

    OK. I stand corrected, but will not change my mind over the fact that CAF put money ahead of players' safety, as did Togo.

  • Comment number 19.

    QPR4ME

    Why would you rather believe they gave Angola the rights to host the tournment for monetary purpose and not because they want to improve the infrastructure in the country. Is your belief fact based or at least based on precedent

  • Comment number 20.

    "Like many fans of African football, I'd long been looking forward to this year's Nations Cup in Angola, especially since it seemed the perfect stepping stone to the World Cup in South Africa later in 2010."

    Is this not the same blogger who barely two weeks ago was arguing that it was "INSANE" to hold the Africa Cup during January, in the middle of the European Season? And he's been looking forward to the Africa Cup? The Africa Cup that is going to disturb his European teams! Ha!

    Is this not the same Piers Edwards who argued that the Africa Cup should not be played in the same year as a World Cup? And now he says it's the perfect stepping stone to the World Cup. Ha!

    That said, I think this unfortunate incident, involving Togo's national team, has played perfectly into the hands of people like Piers Edwards. It has played perfectly into the hands of people who do not wish to see their European party disturbed by a silly African championship. Not too long ago, the bus carrying the Algerian team was attacked in Egypt. That was during their World Cup qualifier. FIFA ruled that the game should go ahead. I did not hear any cries from all the self-righteous people. Was that because the game did not disturb the European calender? How about the 1972 Berlin incident? Oh, but that was in Europe. They must have had very good reasons for that incident!

  • Comment number 21.

    "Togo's assistant coach and press officer, as well as the Angolan coach driver, all tragically passing away"

    They didn't just "pass away".

    They were murdered.

  • Comment number 22.

    Am really concern about the issue, firstly how could someone or group be narrow minded and use killing another country national team who have no political affilation with angola govt to pass their message to the governmnet. the angola govt want to reconcile with this group that is why the cabinda is one of the venue. as and african the nation is like carnival in all african countries, forget about the money genearte from the tournament the joy of the tournament and the colourful display of every supporters.nevertheless i think the tourment should go ahead and the togolese team should go home bcos of the emotional trauma, pain and agony they've go thru will not put them at their best and all other teams and spectators present should be give full security supports.

  • Comment number 23.

    Bakoma

    My belief is based on the behaviour of the CAF. Three people have been brutally murdered, others injured. No players can honestly say that they feel safe and no organiser can honestly say that no one else will die.

    The CAF, if they had any shred of decency would have either cancelled the tournament or moved it, but it appears that they haven't.

    Money is being seen to be more important than lives!

  • Comment number 24.

    @blueboyrob, although I wholeheartedly agree with you that we should all be thankful that a greater tragedy did not unfurl on Friday, you say how something like this won't happen in RSA because it is a much more stable country, unfortunately this is not true. Of course there will be heightened security around the teams and their staffs, but for fans it is a whole other matter. South Africa is not a safe country, head outside of the sterilised tourist areas in the centres of the major cities, the violent crime rates are sky high, I have real concerns that we will see a boom in bus and car-jackings over the course of the tournament. In a recent survey of over 75,000 young men across South Africa over a quarter of those asked admitted to rape, over one quarter, and that's just those that will admitt it! Africa on the whole is not safe, it was foolish of CAF to think that Angola could host this tournament and even more so of FIFA to think RSA can host the World Cup.
    I just hope I'm proven wrong, but I have a sinking feeling I won't be.

  • Comment number 25.

    I used to live in Angola for eight years, although admittedly a few hundred miles away. What I do know is this...if the security situation is anything similar in Cabinda to what it was where I lived then it comes as no suprise to me that this unfortunate disaster has taken place. What I would say is that however much I want Angola to emerge from their not so illustrious past and suceed in this tournament is undermined by one feeling - this tournament is a bridge too far too soon at the moment.

  • Comment number 26.

    As a british national working in Cabinda I now feel the way the area is being portrayed is somewhat innacurate. Yes, it is horrific what is happened and yes security for the team should have been tighter,but the competition must go on. There is just as much danger off a similar attack happening in any country in the world.

    This should never have happened, but these rebels can not think that they have won.

  • Comment number 27.

    2012 CAF - Guinea/Gabon
    Anyone have problems ?

  • Comment number 28.

    As a Liverpool fan, the words of the great Bill Shankly just sound so hollow.

    A silly game is not worth lives and anyone suggesting otherwise is a fool.

  • Comment number 29.

    Hi great people,

    Its actually sad what had happened to the TOGO football team in Angola. But I just do not understand why is it the west press is making it look like because of this Africans can not organize and event of that magnitude.

    Angola is a country that is in peace for almost a decade, why cant they show to the world that they can organize it?

    When the Israel Football team was attacked in Munich in which 9 players were killed, that did downgraded the western and european reputation right.

    I think the media should come down a bit, because most of the people that are giving their opinion concerning this incident, are actually people that are not in the ground. So lets think with people, lets not speculate things that have been not officially confirmed. I believe that the Angolan authority know what they are doing, and in anyway they planned anything like this to happen.

    I see the press concerning about the security in south Africa, Come on people, let the African in people... give them a chance... let the Africans step up, coz we all know that they can.

    once again I feel sorry to what happened to the TOGO team, whether they play on the tournament its really up to them, and whichever will be the decision is understandable.

  • Comment number 30.

    Thomas william
    "You say Africa on the whole is not safe... And that CAF was foolish to think Angola should host the tournment...."
    So what do u suggest... that they should start playing it in Europe or maybe Mars.............or maybe just crap the whole thing so that all the English clubs will be happy......

  • Comment number 31.

    ketrina

    If you are going to bring up Munich, at least get your facts right. It was not the Israeli football team that was attacked, it was their olympic athletics team. The Palistinian terrorists went to Germany to do one thing in 1972 and that was to kill Jews to justify their sick argument.

    FLEC have their own agenda and will kill anyone that moves to get their way. THe very minimum the Angolan Govt should have done was move all games away from the region as until they do so players lives will be at risk. CAF should probably have insisted on that or moved the tournament, but they want money more than they want to care about lives!!

  • Comment number 32.

    #30

    I suggest that maybe one of the more stable African countries conduct the whole hosting business (i.e. Zambia, Botswana) to save on these embarassing situations for Africa as a continent. If CAF eventually want to give the Cup of Nations to Angola then so be it but at least give them time to pull themselves together after their 40 year war. So no, I don't suggest Mars or even Europe Bakoma.

  • Comment number 33.

    turkey_ni said:

    "I don't expect further problems..."

    Based on what?

  • Comment number 34.

    Am watching the opening of the African games and it is beautiful, kudos to President Dos Santos and his government for the hardwork .
    It is terrible that these saboteurs should express themselves at a time that Africa is making an effort to show what we can do as a continent.Angola has to be supported despite this drawback , we have to stand together and encourage them, as a neighbour (Zambian) am so proud of what Angola has achieved !
    Football world support Angola, attacks like these can happen anywhere. Angola should just make sure they do their best concerning security- then-The games MUST go on

  • Comment number 35.

    If anything this will make sure that the World Cup is EXTRA safe. Of course, I'm not suprised by this abomination. A continent with such a horrific record in the majority of its countries is bound to have problems when trying to host such big sporting events.

    However South Africa is a lot detached from the problems of its neighbours. But its association with the continent will mean many question South Africa now. But they'll be on red alert. What happened to Togo was horrific. But not exactly suprising to be perfectly honest. We live in the age of terrorism. Add that to a poor country, and the opportunity, then you're going to have deaths.

  • Comment number 36.

    The tournament must continue.

    However, CAF should accept Togo's decision as final and allow then peace and time to get over the terrible incidient that occured.

    It is completely disrespectful to even attempt to get them to reconsider their decision. Accept it and move on.

    Lets hope the Tournament has no more terrible events and the football flourishes!

  • Comment number 37.

    This tournament should have never been held in Angola. Having worked there I can honestly say it is the most corrupt country I have ever had the misfortune to visit. Booking a room at a hotel in Luanda is almost an irrelevance unless you have a bribe to confirm when you arrive. Sit in the lobby of the few hotels worth staying in and every day you will see people with reservations being turned away with no explanation.

    Walk a block or two from the hotel, assuming your bribe is sufficient to get you the room you have alreay booked, the sight of extreme poverty is sickening in a country with huge oil wealth.

    The well known phrase when doing buisness in Angola is Mr 15%. Eventually you come across the person who expects the bribe. CAF clearly know this, there will be a lot of Mr 15%'s right now enjoying their benefits while contiuining to ignore the terrible poverty of the majority of the population.

    The BBC and every other internatioal news agenay is complicant by failing to show the world how wickedly corrupt Angola is. They have all had the chance to do so in the build up to such a high profile tournament but have chosen to ignore it.

    So how does this tie in to the wicked events that affected the Togo team on Friday? They were attacked within 5 minutes of entering Cabinda. If anyone seriously thinks the terroists just happened to be wandering around the road when the team bus came past and seized their opportunity then they are living on a planet of their own. As is the case with everythig in Angola someone somewhere has paid sufficient money to get enough information on the plans of the Togo team and someone somewhere is sufficently corrupt to provide it.



  • Comment number 38.

    Had the attcked been any other country than Togo, I guese the reaction would have been different from our country rulers. It was naive for the Togolese to allow their players pass through Angola dangerous grounds especially with the past history and the role the current President together with his late father played in fuelling the civil war in Angola. Of course that doesnt qualify the crazies do what they did but the Togolese were actually pushing their luck.
    I am Angolan who felt the impact and sufferings of the war eversince I was born and for the first time I like all other Angolans wanted to show and demonstrate that a country can rise from ashes and make it again. With or without CAN2010, Angola will never be the same. We managed to rebuilde most of the country in a record 7 years which not even Europe did after the second world war. It is sad we lost three people but it would never make any business sense to cancel the entire tournament. I understand the passions and sadness but one other reason as to African countires are so backward is the fact they have alowed immotions to guide the decision making process and Angola as Africas emerging Economic Power doesnt want to go that way.Togolese should have gone through History books and emulate what Great Kalusha Bwalya did to honor his collegues who died in plane crash in 1993.
    I am proud to be an Angola and for once an African country is proving alot of Historians and crits wrong. Long live Angola.

  • Comment number 39.

    Regardless of the standard of football,I think the CAF should give the opportunity to other safe places,like TANZANIA including ZANZIBAR-SEYCHELLES-KENYA and Uganda,and them government should be ready to take the challenges for the sake of the players and the nation

  • Comment number 40.

    #37

    I couldn't agree more with 'liftedinmoscow' if I tried...Angola need to buck their ideas up and fast. However, on merit of the result of Angola vs Mali the players could dig Mr dos Santos' government out of a huge hole - somehow I think that this tournament might be a success after all :)

  • Comment number 41.

    Most of the countries being suggested have never held any majot tournament. During the war I went to school in Zambia and Tanzania and sadly both have no infrastructur to host a major tournament. Angola is not hostinga a major tournament for the first time. Many people might know that we are not only the African Champions in Baskeball, we successfuly hosted the African Tournament in 2007.
    Know one saw the Cabinda thing but neither in the world would anyone be ready and prepared for terrorists. Corruption cases are still high but I have never been to any other country where I have never run into corruption.Football is about fan, we could easily forget about what happened in Cabinda and enjoy the fan we al want.

  • Comment number 42.

    if i was on that team bus i would leave it is totally uniciptible to play through that fear of guns in the surroundings its a descrace

  • Comment number 43.

    Football should hang its collective head in absolute shame that this tournament is continuing while the blood of innocent people soaks into the African dust.

  • Comment number 44.

    Something to ponder...

    20. At 4:03pm on 10 Jan 2010, 50pin wrote:
    "Like many fans of African football, I'd long been looking forward to this year's Nations Cup in Angola, especially since it seemed the perfect stepping stone to the World Cup in South Africa later in 2010."

    Is this not the same blogger who barely two weeks ago was arguing that it was "INSANE" to hold the Africa Cup during January, in the middle of the European Season? And he's been looking forward to the Africa Cup? The Africa Cup that is going to disturb his European teams! Ha!

    Is this not the same Piers Edwards who argued that the Africa Cup should not be played in the same year as a World Cup? And now he says it's the perfect stepping stone to the World Cup. Ha!

    That said, I think this unfortunate incident, involving Togo's national team, has played perfectly into the hands of people like Piers Edwards. It has played perfectly into the hands of people who do not wish to see their European party disturbed by a silly African championship. Not too long ago, the bus carrying the Algerian team was attacked in Egypt. That was during their World Cup qualifier. FIFA ruled that the game should go ahead. I did not hear any cries from all the self-righteous people. Was that because the game did not disturb the European calender? How about the 1972 Berlin incident? Oh, but that was in Europe. They must have had very good reasons for that incident!


    Lesson

    The BBC as a whole must learn not to report things in way that could suggest they have an agenda other than the facts. You read somethings sometimes and you realise that whilst they are not wildly inaccurate, things are being painted in the wrong light - probably to satisfy the cravings of a bad new hungry populace.

    Prime example - Immediate after the attacks, what was the headline on the BBC? "Togo withdraws from the African Nations Cup" but what was the headline on Yahoo Eurosport? " Togo MAY withdraw from African Nations Cup"

    Now you tell me which position turned out to be more accurate in the light of events that occured thereafter. The need for sensationalism from the BBC angle seemed to override the need to report accurately

    But as they say " Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?"

  • Comment number 45.

    Are you people Blind?... Stop making this a big deal, what happened in Cabinda, could have happened anywhere, it had happned b4. Angola is ready for the competition, to organize it...

    These european should calm down a bit. this an African Issue and got nothing to do with u people. Us African we dont really get involved in ur problems. when Chine hosted the Olimpic games, u europeans and US came running ur mouth about BURMA "jesus"!... Why dont u talk about it now... i tell u y... its beacause chine is not hosting an international event anymore.

    So stop it, i say stop it, stop manipulating people and this a propaganda.

  • Comment number 46.

    Its really sad to the note the level of insensitivity shown by CAF and the Angolan officials to the plight of the Togolese.there was no talk of even moving Group D from Cabinda.
    it seems to me that CAF's only goal is to ensure that the tournament goes on so they bag the loot that will come with it.
    i am unable to fathom even why cabinda was chosen as a venue in the first place by the officials: knowing very well that it would pose a security risk.
    CAF has to take the blame for this one. it could have been any team. Its just sad that it took three lives for the reality of this blunder to come to light.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    @blueboyrob, although I wholeheartedly agree with you that we should all be thankful that a greater tragedy did not unfurl on Friday, you say how something like this won't happen in RSA because it is a much more stable country, unfortunately this is not true. Of course there will be heightened security around the teams and their staffs, but for fans it is a whole other matter. South Africa is not a safe country, head outside of the sterilised tourist areas in the centres of the major cities, the violent crime rates are sky high, I have real concerns that we will see a boom in bus and car-jackings over the course of the tournament. In a recent survey of over 75,000 young men across South Africa over a quarter of those asked admitted to rape, over one quarter, and that's just those that will admitt it! Africa on the whole is not safe, it was foolish of CAF to think that Angola could host this tournament and even more so of FIFA to think RSA can host the World Cup.
    I just hope I'm proven wrong, but I have a sinking feeling I won't be


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You have misinterpreted what I meant, Im sorry it wasn't that clear.
    When I say South Africa is more stable I mean in a political sense, since Apartheid ended they have had a relativley fair and stable government. Their country has issues, but so do all of ours. Their murder and rape statistics are horrendous and hopefully the heightened security will help prevent any of these.
    There are no militant groups that I am aware of who are active in South Africa. They are a relativley peaceful nation with very few serious weapons floating around. Africa is the dumping ground for Cold war arms, SA is thankfully different and whilst I am not saying the World Cup will be without incident, it is very unlikely a terrorist group will have the means to act in SA.

  • Comment number 49.

    The authorities spent US$1bn building roads, rail networks, bridges and Stadiums among other things. They forgot to grow the grass for the pitches. Did you see how sandy that pitch was?????? The ball was bouncing 50m high suggesting the ground was as hard as a rock. God help Jabulani (the official world cup ball in use at AFCON)

  • Comment number 50.

    The tournament should continue. All these cries of 'Is money more important than lives?' are silly - of course it is. Every life has a price - just ask an actuary.

    Instead of meaningless questions like that, you should be asking practical ones. What's going to happen to the families of the deceased? It's hard to believe any of the deceased have life insurance - certainly not the Angolan driver.

    What CAF should do is make sure the families are financially compensated (and not in a Union-Carbide-Bhopal manner) - it would be good PR, allow us armchair louts to watch the tournament without our consciences twinging, and only be a teeny weeny fraction of tournament revenue. It might even be good morally, but that would just be a bonus.

    Yes, you can call it hush-up money - and it is - but the children of the dead need to be educated and fed.

    Alas, no hush-up money will be paid - the families will be forgotten. And no Western journalist will write about it in a month because the dead are from countries no Western readers care about.

    I think the tournament should continue, Togo should stay home (I'd be more than traumatized if I was a Togo player on that bus - hell, I'd have died of fear in their place), and all matches in Cabinda should be moved to elsewhere in Angola. The people of Cabinda will be furious at FLEC, at the loss of millions of dollars of future investment in their homeland (that FLEC claims to be fighting for), and the attack will backfire, and that will discourage future attacks.

  • Comment number 51.

    Ten minutes ago, I wrote this:

    "Money aside, there is still an argument for the tournament continuing. Every two years, the Africa Cup of Nations brings happiness and joy to millions of watchers in Africa and around the world. Why stop that?

    Did the Munich Olympics stop when the Israeli athletes were murdered?"

    And then I said to myself : 'Hang on. Wait a minute. That really is a precedent. And a good question. Why didn't the 1972 Olympics stop when 17 athletes were killed?'

    I wasn't even a foetus in 1972, so I had to go read the Wikipedia entry on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_massacre#Effect_on_the_Games

    Here is an extract - and you really should read the whole thing.

    "On September 6, after the memorial service, the remaining members of the Israeli team withdrew from the Games and left Munich... The Egyptian team left the Games on 7 September, stating they feared reprisals. The Philippine and Algerian teams also left the Games, as did some members of the Dutch and Norwegian teams.... quoted Dutch distance runner Jos Hermens as saying, “You give a party, and someone is killed at the party, you don’t continue the party. I'm going home.” Many athletes, dazed by the tragedy, similarly felt that their desire to compete had been destroyed, although they stayed at the Games."

    I'm not entirely sure how the two situations compare - though I know they compare. I still think the tournament should go on, with all matches in Cabinda relocated, and that the Togo players should NOT be forced to play. I think that any player from any country who wants to go home should be allowed to do so (but that they should not play for their club for the duration of the tournament).

    The added perspective is, frankly, a little scary.

  • Comment number 52.

    The BBC and every other internatioal news agenay is complicant by failing to show the world how wickedly corrupt Angola is. They have all had the chance to do so in the build up to such a high profile tournament but have chosen to ignore it.

    -----------------------------

    Because this is a sports tournament not a "let's drag and sully a country's name through the ground for the sake of sensationalism" tournament. I couldn't care less about Angola's problems, because there are hundreds of countries that stage football matches out there with even more dangerous areas than that of Cabinda. In the end sport should be the victor.

    Honestly the amount of people who comment on these types of things don't really understand or appreciate this sport, nor do they understand the unifying factor it has in some countries. Can you imagine if everyone decided to stop going about their business just because of some maniac wielded a gun? The world would never start and we'd be living in a period of constant chaos.

    The attack on the Togolese was an opportunist attack to disrupt the tournament whilst the world is watching. It needs the support of Africa and the rest of the world as well as the love of football to rid its problems not for some social and political commentators to sit there on the moral high horse wagging the finger.

    I'll leave that firmly on the front pages thank you very much. Now how's about we all get behind this game we all love.

  • Comment number 53.

    What was the point of this attack? Who was responsible. Was it supposed to be an attack on the competition? Was it misguided people trying to damage a teams chances? Does anyone actually know? I can't find out anywhere only to read it was a terrorist attack. That means nothing these days.
    People, human beings have died. Why should the competition go on? Because we shouldn't give into who? Someone is angry enough to shoot a bus then whatever makes those people angry needs to be address. Lets focus on solving some of the great injustices in this world before we start saying money and football are more important that human life.

  • Comment number 54.

    @#28 BeyondThePale
    As a Liverpool fan, the words of the great Bill Shankly just sound so hollow.

    A silly game is not worth lives and anyone suggesting otherwise is a fool.
    And
    @#43
    Football should hang its collective head in absolute shame that this tournament is continuing while the blood of innocent people soaks into the African dust.
    .........................................................................

    Personally I agree with you, just as it was sad for the 39 lives lost at the Heysel Disaster.

    You do remember the Heysel Disaster?

  • Comment number 55.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and families of the Togolese delegation who were fatally attacked in Angola.

    Any loss of of life is of course tragic - irrespective of the circumstances. My take is that the Togolese people should be given the space to make a decision that they are comfortable with and their final decision should be respected.

    The web is awash with many instances of soccer related deaths where the decision was made to proceed with the event. A recent example took place in Belgrade, Serbia in September 2009 where a French fan was fatally beaten by Serbian holigans prior to a Europa League match between Partizan Belgrade and Toulouse.

    Back in 2000 UEFA decided that the match batween Galatasray and Leeds United should proceed despite the fatal stabbing of two Leeds supporters the night before.

    This is true in Europe and around the world. It must also be true in Africa!

    We Africans should not get carried away by some of western media's incessant wish to portray Africa in the worst possible light. I think CAF has decided correctly to let the ACN proceed as planned. I'd imagine that the Angolan government has now put in place heightened measures to ensure that a similar thing does not happen. CAF should ensure that enough is done to commemorate the tragic loss of life. It will also be helpful if Agolans themselves can observe a day/evening of mourning for the dead as soon as possible.

  • Comment number 56.

    Are you people Blind?... Stop making this a big deal, what happened in Cabinda, could have happened anywhere, it had happned b4. Angola is ready for the competition, to organize it...

    These european should calm down a bit. this an African Issue and got nothing to do with u people. Us African we dont really get involved in ur problems. when Chine hosted the Olimpic games, u europeans and US came running ur mouth about BURMA "jesus"!... Why dont u talk about it now... i tell u y... its beacause chine is not hosting an international event anymore.

    So stop it, i say stop it, stop manipulating people and this a propaganda.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You’re kidding me right?

    It's not a big deal? Three could be Four innocent people have been murdered, and you tell 'US' Europeans to keep out when nearly if not most of the African players play in Europe.

    Also if this is an 'African' issue why the hell are you not dealing with it, by the looks of thing's CAF are prepared to carry on like nothing happened, I’m not suggesting you should give into terrorists but when you cannot secure the health of the team's is it worth carrying on? surely it can just be re-organised in a country that can host such an event of this magnitude later this year.


    Religious issues like the Olympic Games in Berlin and political issues like china have nothing to do with plain murder, such corruption goes on regular in and just out of Angola and if you deem its fit for the rest of the world to watch such scenes and not comment? You must be crazy.

    Ridiculous organisational skills on behalf of Angola and CAF have resulted in such terrible scenes which need to be addressed.

    This years African cup of nation’s was a pathetic excuse to last time and is clearly organised in Angola for other purposes than football.....


  • Comment number 57.

    Piersie - pressure inappropriate but quite definitely inevitable, african nations, olympics, world cup whatever. Upside is much more on them playing than not I think...

  • Comment number 58.

    @56 - Josh T. For some reason I do not think that you actually are European. At least not by judging from the trust of your argumnt.

    Be it as it may, UEFA carried on (and rightfully so) with a match when a French fan was killed quite recently in Belgrade prior to a match between Partizan Belgrade and Toulouse. (See Comment 55 above). Your argument for European intrusion is therefore applying double standards at best.

    If it is correct in Europe, it must be the same in Africa. Period!

  • Comment number 59.

    Angola was awarded the competition, and the Angolese government was keen to put on a good show. But the current regime obviously had a desire to use the tournament to advance political goals. Having games played in Cabinda is a way of legitimizing the continuing occupation of this territory. There were other suitable cities on the Angolan mainland to host games, but the government made a political choice.

    The Angolan government derives a lot of its oil revenues from Cabinda! US company Chevron pumps out oil and pays rights to the government in Luanda yet the local population gets little in return. To those who say that the locals ought to be happy for games being played there as it brings revenues, I say that this is patronizing in the extreme. When Portugal's empire collapsed, Angolan liberation movements seized power in Cabinda. A peace treaty might have been signed in 2006, but serious issues remain.

    Now, the tragedy is for the entire Togo team to be made to pay for Luanda's political miscalculations. The tragedy is for lives being lost - this tournament is a missed opportunity for Angola. Oil workers in Cabinda say they feel safe, and of course they are in their fortified compounds! But does anyone care what the Cabindese population want? I actually suspect the rebels & terrorists benefit from little support from the population. Yet few are pleased with the way Angola is wielding power over (exploiting, even?) the area.

    Football can unite people, no doubt. But why tempt the devil by staging games in what is arguably the most unstable region of Angola? It's not about who is winning - the machine-gun attackers or the so-called good guys? Everybody is losing, and some a lot more than others. It's a great shame.

  • Comment number 60.

    trust caf to turn a tragedy into a political joke

  • Comment number 61.

    This should be a wake up call for expected the mass kidnapping of famous football players at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. With so much corruption in the police and security forces expect to see headlines like " Kidnappers want $10 million for Rooney" " Deadline $15 million by tomorrow or Ronaldo returns in his kit bag". You may think this is over the top, but remember the Munich Games..

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes Peter you're right I do think that's over the top. The world has moved on somewhat from Munich and it's cases such as that and this tragedy in Cabinda which will mean nothing like that will happen when the World Cup comes along in the Summer.

  • Comment number 63.

    I think it was still a huge mistake to gift the world cup to South Africa. The Togo incident just highlights the perils that exist in the African continent and I have a bad feeling that those travelling to WC2010 are going to be Hotel bound and escorted to games by untrained machine gun totting security, not really the spirit of a World Cup !

    The new South African presidant, Zuma, is a man who isn't fit to run a bath and yet he will also be no doubt headlining all PR this summer. My Saffie mates talk of the beauty of their country and also the good people but the dangers are well publicised too.

    Expect more headlines other than football this summer.

  • Comment number 64.

    It is terribly risky continuing the tournament in the circumstances, yet the CAF goes further by insisting that future fixtures in the region go ahead, and then PUNISHES Togo for having the temerity to leave the tournament over the small matter of the murder of members of their touring party.

    When the Sri Lankan team was attacked in Pakistan, all international cricket in that country was indefinitely suspended until security could be guaranteed.

    By way of contrast, football, it seems, is above such petty considerations as the lives of the players, let alone the fans. I am utterly appalled by the callous disregard for human life displayed by a majority of comments here. This whole episode makes Shankly's famous saying not so much amusing as horrifyingly prophetic.

  • Comment number 65.

    As an African and proudly so, I would like to make this comparison. Recently, one Umar, almost summarised about 300 people during the 25th Detroit bound flight. Has anyone thought of closing that airport or stop travelling by air completely? Eight CIA workers where killed in Afganistan plus other Americans and Co. have died in Foreign countries, BUT, have they thought of leaving those countries because they are dangerous! Of course the above examples do not relate to football but more to do with double standards and thinking that when 3 people die in Ambush that implies Africa is all HELL.Who ever suggest that the CAN 2010 games be cancelled is not only an enemy of football but also and enemy of Africa.Blaming Angola of what happened is also a shallow argument, ask a simple question why TOGO? has this happened to any other team?Linking what happened to world Cup in South Africa again means that someone is not knowledgeable with world events. Of course anything can happen anywhere but it is rediculus to imagine that because it is Africa then all is doomed.Enjoy the games!!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    And can I just add that those people comparing the deaths of fans in bar fights with a prolonged and organised terrorist attack on a team coach are utter fools.

    Don't bring a knife to a gunfight, fellas!

  • Comment number 67.

    Sadly this last few days only highlights people worries about Africa in general and the up coming WC.

    On top of this the first game clearly highlights why no team from this continent will win the WC - naive teams!

    Also why the ACN SHOULD NOT be held every 2 years. Some nations are not ready, but host it regardless. Its all about MONEY. Nothing else matters in this organisation. It has jack diddly squat to do with improving countries infrastructure, it has to do with lining politicians pockets. Angola will go backwards after this, not forwards. Will the African football governing body care? NO.

    Somehow, im sure some of the Africans on here will blame the Europeans.... after all, it is always our fault....

  • Comment number 68.

    I am watching Malawi Vs Algeria but two things come to my mind. 1) overall, the level of Football in Africa seems to have picked a gear or two up. Having watched Angola simplify Mali in the first half although the Mali´s turn around in the last ten minutes was remarkable and now that at half time Malawi is 2-0 against a side going for world cup and more so a side that summarised Egypt. This means, the word minnows may be used with caution.2) On the bad side, the stadium is sparcely peopled. that annoys!!! I can not explain why Africans love football and yet the can not go to the stadia to watch. the irony is, when the home country is playing the stadium is full!! is it because the tickets are expensive!!! if so the organisers should be aware of this and plan in advance. Is it because they only watch there national team? then why not watch there team play against itself!!! It is beautiful to watch football either on TV or stadium when the stadium is full.

  • Comment number 69.

    No it doesnt show African teams are great, it shows they are all average. Algeria will be lucky to get a point in the WC, everyone outside of Africa knows that.

    In England we have LOADS of Africans living there, but you barely ever see one paying his money and going to the games. Glory hunters.

  • Comment number 70.

    Top work Zinho. Difficult subject described with aplomb. Stay safe out there.

  • Comment number 71.

    I know teams are made of players.If the African teams are average then their players are average. This brings one question why would top teams (clubs) pay a lot of money to buy "average players playing for average teams" The answer lies in ones ability not to accept the truth!!.

  • Comment number 72.

    About Africans not paying money. I agree but partly, Africans in Africa spend a lot of money watching English teams on tele either by subscribing to digital channels, Supersport (mostly) of watching in bars e.t.c. Even the poorest of the poor will get some money somewhere to watch Arsenal, Chelsea, ManU e.t.c.

  • Comment number 73.

    The game between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso is going on very very well. Lovely looking stadium as well. Those advocating for the games to be moved will certainly have an egg on your faces. However what happened was tragic. Please Europeans, keep out of this African issues. Just because Drogba plays in England and you pay him, doesnt give you a right to speak about Cabinda they way you are. After all he pays his taxes to the Inland Revenue. The murderers should be hunted, found and punished. The Togolese Hawks should be allowed to return if they so wish. Cabinda is not so bad. Just a few misguided rebels trying to make a stupid statement. May the dear departed's souls rest in eternal peace and get well soon to the injured.

  • Comment number 74.

    We keep on blaming these rebels, I personally think the president of Angola should be held responsible for this nonsene. How can you rule a country for more than three decades as president? Are you a King? When a president stays in power for three decades , what do you expect from some of the tormented and deprived people of that nation? Angola is not the only troubled country in Africa, any African country where a president has ruled for more than a decade should not be accepted to host this tournament because there are a lot of suppressed and tormented individuals in those countries who will take advantage of competitions like these to express their fustration by killing the innocent. In fact this should be one of CAF's rules in order to promote democracy in Africa which will lead to good governance, real development and not corruption and dictatorship.

    My heart goes to the Togolese team and may God bless them.

  • Comment number 75.

    QPR4 You are sometimes right but don't blame the innocent Togolese players. Blame their selfish president who cannot provide some cash for them to take a plane because he has to increase his Swiss account. Don't blame the rebels blame Mr. Dos Santos's rule as president for 3 decades ( We shouldn't encourage dictators.) With all the respect, Nigeria should have never been allowed to host the World cup youth tournament without addressing the Delta oil issue. (You cannot have so much oil in your back yard and not even have a good tarred road of bitumen to show for it. Not to talk of unemployment and hunger while other people are making billions out of it.)

    Rose #34, No kudos for that old man and his grand daughter wife. He should retire. He is the main cause of this problem. (Rule as president for 3 decades. Is he a king?)

  • Comment number 76.

    My condolences go out to the Togolese and i agree with Johnny about the airfares that should have been provided from the money Togo received for qualifying.

    On another note I'm loving the tournament already - great blog, exciting games! Thank goodness the BBC's cuts haven't taken this away from us too.

  • Comment number 77.

    After reading a lot of the comments based from knowledgeable and discerning people, I have my own final comments for the haters and afro pessimist. Don't come to SA for the 2010 world cup. I guarantee that all the teams will come. If the English horde refuse to come all the better because it lessens the security burden having to deal with hooliganism. Africans will fill the stadiums and support African teams to the hilt given us a chance to win the world cup for the first time. If it comes down to intimidation so be it. We should not beg anybody to come. History is replete with terror and hate. One man in Germany exterminated 6 million jews to prove a point. Africa should not feel any guilt at a all. We have our problems, we do not racialise every issue. We will continue to grow as a continent. Madness exist in every country and continent nobody is going to typecast us. I am sick and tired of rabble rousing, narrow minded and uncircumspect journalism that never looks at the whole picture. I pray for the souls of the dearly departed at Angola 2010. I pray for FLEC to ask for divine forgiveness for the innocent blood they have shed. I pray for Angola who after 30 years of civil war are trying to rebuild their society just as Germany was allowed to after world war II. I pray for South Africa to have a great 2010 World Cup and bring joy to the world and finally I pray for Africa, God's own continent that she finds peace love and happiness this decade and rises to her divine status in the world. From the Cape to Cairo AFCON will gives us pride and joy. Nobody will break our spirit and we will resolve to be the best that we can be. God Bless Africa.

  • Comment number 78.

    Double standards, double standards blah blah.

    Just give Europe the players back as Angloa can clearly not secure the teams security.

  • Comment number 79.

    The tournament should not be cancelled, but was it wise to host games in Cabinda? There may have been social and political reasons for it, but safety and security must outweigh those reasons.

    There is no connection to South Africa's world cup. The countries are a long way apart and Africans are right to be annoyed at the inference that what happens in Angola affects SA. Even the majority of Angola is safe enough, if only they had avoided Cabinda. I wanted to go to Angola to watch the tournament till I saw the air fares. From a UK perspective though, maybe Africans should criticise some of your own people, asylum seekers who 'flee' countries where the war ended 20 years ago. We even have one or two pro footballers guilty of this. If you don't want the UK to have the opinion that sub-Saharan Africa is one big basketcase, maybe you should have a word with them. Any African living in the UK has no right to complain that Europeans have a low opinion of Africa. Only by going to Africa and seeing it for yourselves will Europeans find that the people are friendly and it is generally as safe as. Recent events are unfortunate and my sympathy goes to those involved.

  • Comment number 80.

    67. At 2:38pm on 11 Jan 2010, Phil wrote:

    Sadly this last few days only highlights people worries about Africa in general and the up coming WC.

    On top of this the first game clearly highlights why no team from this continent will win the WC - naive teams!

    Also why the ACN SHOULD NOT be held every 2 years. Some nations are not ready, but host it regardless. Its all about MONEY. Nothing else matters in this organisation. It has jack diddly squat to do with improving countries infrastructure, it has to do with lining politicians pockets. Angola will go backwards after this, not forwards. Will the African football governing body care? NO.

    Somehow, im sure some of the Africans on here will blame the Europeans.... after all, it is always our fault....

    69. At 3:05pm on 11 Jan 2010, Phil wrote:

    No it doesnt show African teams are great, it shows they are all average. Algeria will be lucky to get a point in the WC, everyone outside of Africa knows that.

    In England we have LOADS of Africans living there, but you barely ever see one paying his money and going to the games. Glory hunters.

    --------------------

    Really? Can any good come out of Africa?

    Your anti-african campaign is sickening to say the least. I wonder what people like you think of themselves...some perfect being?

    Thankfully, most British people are far more intelligent than you.

    Who are you to dictate the frequency of the ACoN? The Africans are not complaining, so why should you. Why should the Africans do everything exactly the European way?

    You barely ever see one African paying his money and going to games in England? Oh really?

    May be it's because they have cousins, nephews, Grans, parents or other distant relatives to send monies to back home; and they feel that is more important than paying £50 to go and watch some over-paid bunch of lads!

    I for one will rather watch those games on TV because it's cheaper and more convenient for me...I dont care about what you say about the atmosphere of the ground, and you can not claim that you're more passionate than I am simply because you pay your money to go to the grounds.

    If everyone was thinking like you, the world cup will never come to Africa and no one would ever have given any African player a chance. But I suppose if an African player in the club side that you support scores a goal in any match you're watching, you jump up is ecstacy. Hypocrite!

  • Comment number 81.

    I hope people are not generalising the thing to include the entire continent. I wonder why there is still a number of people who think Africa is a country. South Africa and Angola...even Cabinda, Luanda and Benguela are miles apart. Blame though still lies with the Angolan government. They knew Togo are coming to Cabinda (or rather they should have known) and should have provided adequate security.
    The tournament got of to a flier though and may the minnows continue their giant killing acts.
    That said, my condolences to the Togolese deceased.

  • Comment number 82.

    If a terrorist attack happens in London, should everything stand still in Manchester or Scotland or Barcelona?

    It does make a difference to think before talking, or typing for that matter!

  • Comment number 83.

    Shame on you Mr Phil Brown, manager of Hull City FC for such warped thinking that led you to link the tragic shooting in Cabinda to South Africa's ability to host the upcoming world cup. As an african, I feel so offended and will probably forever hold you in comtempt, for your recent comments on this matter.

  • Comment number 84.

    Where was this guy when the unfortunate events at the Munich Olympic Games? Did that stop Germany from holding world events (not forgetting the most recent world cup soccer tournament)? Is it that just this happened in AFRICA, response from the INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY must be different? I must not call him a racist pig although I feel like describing him as such.

  • Comment number 85.

    How come there's no highlights on the website?

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    Lets be honest here, there are going to be far more attacks on football fans at the WC2010 than any other before.
    If you think that is a racist comment then you have a twisted view. The point that Phil Brown is trying to make is that many are not fit to host major tournements. Angola has just come out of a war and still has separatist paramilitary groups still operating within its borders-UNSAFE FOR ACF2010.
    The stories you here out of South Africa are shocking as well, widespread muggings, rape, car-jackings. These things do not happen in the developed world to the same extent. Fans are going to be put in danger for an 'experiment'. Lets be honest with ourselves, saying that the WC should be pulled out of SA over this incident is not fair but it is fair to say that it should never have been awarded it in the first place.

  • Comment number 88.

    Wow! I didn't know Europeans are still very racist and have not changed since the Americans abolished slavery. We in North America have come to realize that everyone was made equal by God that is why we accept every race and culture in our society and look at how the almighty God has rewarded us. We are now the greatest. We have even elected our first African American president you all admire. Could you please change my fellow European brothers for your brothers up North have changed. Africans have the right to host the world cup just like any other nation in the world black or white or green. Look at how much Europe has taken from Africa (Humans, Gold, Diamond, timber and the bit goes on.) Look at how much material you have taken from this same South Africa you are making fun of without even paying a cent. (In fact if you can return to them a tiny bit of the amount of their gold you have stocked in your palace that will be enough to build all the roads you are making fun of.) Without Africa, most countries in Europe like France, Portugal England will not survive. That is why they have to support and protect these dictators to be in power for decades in exchange for their country's resources while their people are starving. Look at how we North Americans operate in the middle east and learn a lesson. We love their oil but we make sure the people there have our technology, have roads, have food, water and the list continues. May be you Europeans should do the same thing to Africans to show a little bit of kindness for their resources you are taking for free.

    Amen.

  • Comment number 89.

    Why oh why is everyone jumping on the "blame Europe" bandwagon/we love USA, for goodness sake move forward a bit with your history! And no-one is taking the mickey out of South Africa re gold, diamonds etc - grow up. Johnny wrote at 9.12 pm about us all admiring Obama and how great is America - NO I DON'T and you're not. For a so-called super power you're pretty good at leading folks into war and stuffing things up in other countries! Thank goodness I don't live my life thinking Africa or America are better than us here. Goodness, get a grip.

    I'm writing as an English person (who lives in England , not Europe) and has watched football for many years. I've been to SA and have relatives there (one has been shot twice and they still stay there even though they admit its awful) and have no real problem with the World Cup being there. Its a big continent and from what I've heard it was only that area Cabinda in Angola that is bad. Security should have been far better.
    I don't know whether the decision was right, if you bow to terrorists and abandon the tournament (we didn't in 1996 here) OR you say that playing on is an insult to those who died.
    What troubles me is that this, so far seems an average footballing tournament, whether the events have overshadowed it. I love watching football but haven't been thrilled so far by it. But the thing that gets me most is how few people are watching the games, the crowds have been dreadful. Is this to do with ticket prices or apathy or what? Is it really a good idea holding a tournament like this in such a "low profile" country ( and that is not a racist comment). Surely somewhere else could have staged it.

  • Comment number 90.

    Johnny if your country is so great why does it bomb innocent civilians and it own troops?
    I'm amazed the moderators haven't taken your comment off seeing as it has nothing to do with football.
    The USA will never be great at international teamsports (football,cricekt rugby) and you call your stupid Baseball tournement the world series, despite the fact that US baseball team isn't even the best in the world. Go take your twisted patriotism and ignorance off these boards.

  • Comment number 91.

    Hey Jacey26 and Lennonisagod ( I strongly disagree with your name ) stop putting down the great USA. You know very well that God made us to bring the world together and that's why we have such diversity and are hated by the enemies of God. All what I am saying is that we should be supporting Africa in what they are doing and not abusing them because of your selfish interests regarding your European league. Nobody has ever criticized Europe for having their own tournament in June when it is summer. In Africa according to my research, January is the best time they can have their tournament and not June due to the rainy season. You cann't force them to play in June and cancel most of their matches like you Europeans are doing now because of bad weather.

    In North America, when winter comes, we abandon outdoor games and welcome indoor games. Every human being has the right to enjoy comfortable weather while doing sports and not to be forced to play in minus zero temperatures because of selfish business men.

    thanks.

  • Comment number 92.

    #69 "algeria will struggle to get a point"

    Let's hope their struggles prove fruitful, for the sake of those who seek glory in the redemption of the human spirit... everywhere.

  • Comment number 93.

    #87 and #88. You guys are as bad as each other....clueless.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why is there this air of schadenfraude with what happened in Cabinda? There is no pity for those who lost their lives but just unjustified criticism of Africa and Africans. Please be reminded that the Africa Cup of Nations has been held since 1957 and no such incident has ever happened except now. So it is warped thinking to connect this to the unsuitability of holding any tournament in Africa. Will it in the same vein make any sense for an African to suggest that it is advisable not to use trains and Tubes in Europe because of what happened on 7/7 in London and Madrid? Isnt it also preposterous to suggest that schools in Europe should be avoided because of the Finnish and Russian school massacres? Not to mention going to university in America because of the Virginia Tech massacre?

  • Comment number 95.

    It is right that the tournament should continue. The Togo team should have stayed and played.

    But what is so disgusting is the attitude of CAF. Disqualifying Togo for not turning up? Come on CAF.

  • Comment number 96.

    It was a disgraceful decision on CAF's part to ban Togo, especially in light of the fact that 3 people died in that incident and at least a few others were injured pretty badly.

    The tournament could have gone on and CAF could have made an exception and excused Togo from playing in the tournament. Shame on CAF.

  • Comment number 97.

    The last blog from the BBC on the biggest tournament in the world? It seems to me a bit daft that despite upset on upset (egypt3-1nig, ivory coast0-0burkina faso, malawi3-0algeria, and great football all round, mr edwards hasn't yet changed his stance. seems to me the beeb needs a new blogger

  • Comment number 98.

    and this is all while im trying to follow the tournament online, because noone bothers to broadcast it in asia. if only we had eurosport

  • Comment number 99.

    #93 Hugo, you are the one who is clueless. You are no prophet of doom to say that Algeria will struggle to get a point. Let the games begin and we shall see.

  • Comment number 100.

    #99 johnny you are too stupid i can't talk to you.

 

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