Togo be to expelled from African Cup of Nations
Togo will be disqualified from the African Nations Cup finals if they do not show up for Monday's Group B match against Ghana in Cabinda, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Monday.
Togo's opponents Ghana have been told to proceed as if the match, scheduled to kick off at 1830 GMT, was still going ahead, even though Togo left Angola on Sunday evening to return home following the deadly attack on their team bus last week.
"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," a senior CAF official told Reuters on Monday.
"The referee has been ordered to start the match and if Togo are not there, then they will be declared to have withdrawn and be disqualified."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 kickoff, the official said.
Monday's Group B match in Cabinda was scheduled as the second part of a double header.
Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast play the first match at the new Chazi Stadium in Cabinda at 1600GMT.
Togo midfielder Thomas Dossevi described the CAF decision as "serious and ridiculous."
"It would have been simple for us to come back and play on January 21, I think Ghana would have agreed to that," he told Reuters by telephone.
"It is a serious and ridiculous decision. Everybody wanted us to be here and play the African Nations Cup."
The Togo squad departed the tournament on Sunday after Friday's attack on their team bus.
Their assistant coach and press officer were killed and reserve goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale seriously wounded by separatists from the enclave of Cabinda.
Togo left on a chartered flight sent to collect them after the attack but had expressed the hope they might be able to return and compete at the Nations Cup.
Several players spoken of their willingness to play on at the tournament but Togo's government said it had ordered them home.
Captain Emmanuel Adebayor told reporters at Cabinda airport that Togo might come back and attempt to play their Group B fixtures.
The CAF official, however, said that it would be impossible to change the tournament schedule.
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