Togo coach Claude LeRoy backs Emmanuel Adebayor over refusal to play

Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor
Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor is unhappy with the state of the pitch in Lome and has refused to play on it

Togo coach Claude LeRoy has said that he has no problems with striker Emmanuel Adebayor refusing to play in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying this month.

Adebayor refused to play against The Gambia in Lome because of the poor state of the artificial playing surface and did not travel for the return match either.

LeRoy told French website Actufoot that he fully understood Adebayor's decision.

"He has long legs and has a lot of trouble coping with the surface in Lome," LeRoy explained.

"He didn't play but he was there with us.

"We will see for (the next Nations Cup qualifier) Algeria but he could also be troubled that surface too - which is like abominable corrugated iron.

"We have one pitch that is under construction and so we cannot use it anymore and another (pitch) that is a catastrophe, it's a shame.

"With his long legs, when he trains on it, he has tendinitis, joint problems... he is 35-years-old, he is not very young anymore.

"This kind of terrain ruins him completely at the physical level. You can not force a player to play, especially since he has problems.

"As long as Caf and Fifa allow matches on potato fields, it should not be a surprise that African football is struggling.

"Unfortunately, we are more concerned with presidential chairs in the (VIP) boxes than we are with the surfaces."

Without Adebayor the Hawks earned a 1-1 draw in Lome before winning the return fixture 1-0 in The Gambia.

The results left Togo third in Group D with five points from four matches - just two behind both Algeria and Benin.

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