We’ve just been on a flying visit to rural Italy (more later) and even there the tv news was dominated by the tragic killing of 3 members of the crew supporting the Togo national football team following the terrorist attack on their team bus at the African Nations Cup tournament. Now this is a dreadful situation of course but some questions occurred to me:
– what was the Confederation of African football (CAF) thinking of in awarding a major sports tournament to a country which had only recently seen the end of a 27 year-long bitter and bloody civil which had seen 1.5m people killed, leaving the countryside laid to waste and almost half the population below the poverty line, and, with resentment still simmering beneath the surface?
– given that there must have been at least some worries over the ability of the Angolan Government to ensure effective security, why on earth did CAF agree to allow the Angolan authorities to host some of the ANC matches in the separate and volatile province of Cabinda, which had witnessed the most fierce opposition to the Government during the war?
– why on earth did the Togo sports authorities decide to transport their team via buses across miles of guerilla landscape rather than via far safer air travel?
– what security protection were the team afforded on their journey?
– whilst the players and support crew who were involved in the attack deserve our compassion (see below), what sympathy do you have for the Togo Sports Ministry and its Government, CAF and the Angolan authorities who seemed to spend two whole days arguing about semantics over whether the team should continue in the tournament or not, rather than the welfare of the people involved both in the attack and the wider event?
– what confidence do you have in the state of African sports politics generally to manage major events safely and securely?
I know South Africa is an entirely different proposition to Angola but it’s worrying knowing that desperately poor and ill-educated people could use the World Cup to make a tragic statement. And one more point, if I was in the trenches fighting for a cause, the very last person I’d want next to me would be that Adebayor. I admire enormously some of the comments made by his team mates but this guy seems to me to be concerned about one thing alone – himself. I might have it completely wrong but it looked to me that his attitude was all about looking distraught on camera but discreetly organising the first flight out for himself. I think the Arsenal fans had him sussed early on.