Togo celebrates Adebayor’s return

Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor enjoyed a warm homecoming on Tuesday when he returned to Togo to prepare for the Nations Cup.

The hometown hero had originally said he would not participate in the 2013 tournament due to what he said was bad management of the Togolese national program.

Togolese president Faure Gnassingbe invited Adebayor to discuss how to improve Togo’s football infrastructure earlier in the season. After their talks, Adebayor announced he had changed his mind and was ready to play for his country at this year’s Africa Cup of Nations.

Adebayor said he hoped this would be Togo’s year to shine as he spoke of a missed opportunity after the 2010 tragedy that occurred while Togo’s team was travelling to that year’s AFCON in Angola. While travelling through the Caibinda province of Angola, the team bus was attacked by gunmen and three officials from the team were killed, and several others injured. The Togo team withdrew from the tournament that year.

“It is true that the AFCON is our career, the career of a football player; it’s always nice to play. This is a celebration for us. This is the festival that is on our continent. Especially, I have to represent my country Togo, for me it is a source of pride,” he said.

“Well, my life before all. You know what happened in Cabinda (Angola) we were going to play the AFCON. I had put all my life into it. I said the AFCON 2010 in Angola was my AFCON, that I could win the cup as captain. You know how it ended for us, so I hope this time if I am part of the group, I hope this time it will be a little better for me, a little better for the players and for everyone,” he said on the two-year anniversary of the attack.

The Tottenham Hotspur player said he is also looking forward to helping improve the country’s football program and infrastructure after his talks with the president.

“It is the head of my country, I am a citizen, he appealed to me. He asked me how to make Togolese football go forward. We talked and I see that he wants to invest in it, he wants to change Togolese football for good, so I’m ready for that. I have always fought for that,” he said.

Togo will face some of the toughest early match-ups in the tournament which starts on January 19, as they are grouped with Ivory Coast as well as Tunisia and Algeria.

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