Togo face disqualification
Togo face disqualification from the Africa Cup of Nations but the country's PM says they have already withdrawn.
Last Updated: 11/01/10 3:59pm
Togo face disqualification from the African Cup of Nations if they do not show up for their game on Monday, although the country's PM says they have already withdrawn.
The Togo squad left Angola for their homeland on Sunday after Friday's gun attack on their team bus left three people dead.
There has since been confusion as to whether Togo will now be competing in the tournament, with a suggestion the squad may return at a later stage.
Togo's opponents Ghana have been told to proceed as if Monday's Group B match in Cabinda - scheduled to kick off at 1830 GMT - is still going ahead, with a senior Confederation of African Football (CAF) official saying Togo will be disqualified if they do not turn up.
He said: "We have not heard anything official from them. They have never officially told us they are not going to play or they are going to play. We are only hearing from them in the media.
"The referee has been ordered to start the match and if Togo are not there, then they will be declared to have withdrawn and be disqualified."
It is not clear whether Ghana will have to go through the pretence of preparing for the match and taking to the pitch. A decision will be made closer to the kick-off, the official added.
But whatever sanctions CAF threaten, Togo's Prime Minister Gilbert Huongbo said on Monday that the country did not want to re-enter the tournament.
He said: "We have simply withdrawn our team, it is not a matter of withdrawing for the mourning period.
"The information that has been circulated on some websites saying the players are just back for three days' mourning and will then go back playing is quite wrong.
"We withdrew our team on the basis they have been the victim of a terrorist attack."
Huongbo has also hit out at the way Togo has been treated by the tournament organisers, insisting the decision to withdraw was not made in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, but after support from CAF proved non-forthcoming.
He added: "Management did not give us enough assurance. We would leave our team being exposed to similar risks. Therefore we decided to pull our team out of the competition against our will.
"We will have hoped that one can have serene discussion with the host country, with the Confederation, to assess what has happened, assess what one has to do.
"We received no co-operation from the Confederation in terms of any kind of assessment.
"Our analysis is that they want it [the shooting] to be seen as a non-event and the show must go on as planned; there mustn't be an official change and Togo is causing problems to the festival."
Huongbo insists there was no option but to withdraw the squad.
He said: "What if something happened again? What is our responsibility? It is a matter of taking seriously the safety of our people.
"It is not my pleasure we withdraw, we don't want to play into the hands of the terrorists, but we have a responsibility to protect our people."