LUANDA, January 30 – Togo, who pulled out of the Africa Cup of Nations after a terrorist attack on their team bus, have been banned for the next two editions of the tournament, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said Saturday.
CAF president Issa Hayatou told AFP the decision was based on "governmental interference", which led to Togo’s decision to pull out of this year’s edition.
Togo decided to quit the 2010 Nations Cup after two members of their delegation were shot and killed during the ambush on the team convoy as it arrived in the restive Angolan enclave of Cabinda.
The armed wing of the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), embroiled in a decades-long separatist struggle, claimed responsibility for the attack.
Togo, captained by Manchester City star Emmanuel Adebayor, initially wanted to remain in the competition where they were drawn in Group B with Ivory Coast, Ghana and Bukina Faso, but quit on their national government’s orders.
They left Cabinda to return home on the evening of the start of the competition on January 10.
The attack occurred as the Togo convoy drove into Cabinda from Congo-Brazzaville on the Friday, leaving players cowering under their seats during a 20-minute gunbattle with security forces.
A Togo assistant coach and a team spokesman were killed and goalkeeper, Kodjovi Obilale, was among the injured.
Obilale was airlifted to a hospital in Johannesburg where he is receiving treatment after gun shots to the back and abdomen.
Organisers rejected calls for the 2010 tournament to be scrapped with security beefed up in Cabinda and the three other venues in Luanda, Benguela and Lubango.
Despite fears of more attacks the competition, which reaches its climax with Sunday’s final between champions Egypt and Ghana, has passed off peacefully.