African Nations Cup 2010

CAF president insists Togo withdrew from ANC

January 12, 2010

Confederation of African Football president Issa Hayatou insists Togo withdrew from the African Nations Cup with their blessing rather than being disqualified.

There had been uncertainty over the situation since the team returned home from Angola after a gun attack on their team bus which reportedly left three people dead last Friday. Hayatou admits he wanted Togo to stay on and play in the tournament.

"When we heard the squad wanted to leave, I told them that it wasn't a good thing. Life has to go on," he told British Eurosport. "Of course what happened to them has affected their motivation and I understand their sadness.

"But we have to say there is no better event than the African Nations Cup in Africa. Togo decided to leave and we told them we understand perfectly their decision and that we would respect it."

He added: "The day after the event I read in the press that Togo had decided to stay, that the players wanted to stay, then a few hours later we heard another decision - a decision of politics for them to leave - so that's why they left.

"Contrary to what people say, CAF did not disqualify Togo. Togo decided to quit. We regret what happened and wanted to have our brothers from Togo in the tournament, but we accept their decision."

Hayatou - whose organisation was alarmingly silent in the 24 hours following the attack - said: "There were true rumours, false rumours and all these rumours contributed to the increased feeling of fear. We're going to meet the teams to assure them of our support and especially the enlargement of the security detail."