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Monday, June 10, 2013
Togo fears over Libya trip

Ian Holyman, France Correspondent

Togo captain Alaixys Romao has said the country's players fear a repeat of their horrific 2010 Africa Cup of Nations experience if they go to Libya for Friday's World Cup qualifier.

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Three people, including two members of the Togolese delegation, were killed by machine-gun-wielding separatists when the team made its way to the Angolan enclave of Cabinda for its group stage games at the Nations Cup three-and-a-half years ago.

Didier Six's team are due in Benghazi this week. Thirty people were killed and more than 100 injured in fighting in the Libyan town last weekend, and Romao told L'Equipe the prospect of going there had sparked fears.

"It brings back so many bad memories," the Marseille midfielder, who ducked for safety on the team coach in Cabinda as it was peppered with bullets for 20 minutes, said. "We've talked about it among ourselves, those who went through that.

"We don't want to go through the same drama as in Angola. The killings on Saturday must change something. It's frightening."

Libya's 0-0 draw with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Tripoli last Friday passed off without major incident, but Six has been told by the French embassy in the north African country that his security cannot be assured if he goes to Benghazi.

Romao is concerned that on-pitch tensions will inflame the situation and hopes FIFA will move the game to a different venue.

"We don't want to play in Benghazi. We're very worried after what happened on Saturday. There were more than 30 killed and they want to send us there?" he said.

"Why should we take so many risks for a match? We shouldn't be afraid for our safety. And if we win, what happens then? So we're going to see what can be done with FIFA. Of course, if we're made to go there, what can we do? But who would find that normal?"

Libya are currently top of Group I, while Togo - in last place in the four-team section - are only two points behind after their 2-0 victory over Cameroon on Sunday.




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