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01.02.2006 Football News

Hawks make a stopover in Accra enroute to Lome

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Accra, Feb. 1, GNA - The Togolese national team, the Hawks, made a brief stopover in Accra on Wednesday as they continued their journey by road to Lome, Togo, after being bundled out of the ongoing 25th MTN African Cup of Nations in Egypt.

Head Coach Stephen Keshie told the GNA Sports at the Kotoka International Airport that though painful it was to be kicked out at the preliminary stage of the tournament, they were putting everything behind them and plan towards the summer World Cup.

Togo, one of Africa's five representatives at this year's World Cup in Germany, lost all three group B matches against Cameroon, DR Congo and Angola.

Coach Keshie said lack of proper planning, organisation and in-house demand, notably monetary, accounted for the early exit of the Hawks.

"Our players are young, not well-established. Averagely, one needs about three years to get a team well-knitted for such major tournament", he told the GNA Sports.

The former Nigerian inspirational skipper turned coach said they were going back to the drawing board to map out strategy towards the mundial, which included playing lots of friendly matches. Asked why he should not be fired, he said: "when the going was good everybody cheered me - this is not time for finger pointing." Ghanaian-born Eric Akoto, Togolese stalwart defender said the team had learnt their lessons and were going to prepare to well to ensue that they made a mark at the World Cup.

Three of the five Africans representatives at the Summer World Cup including Ghana and Angola were all knocked out at the group stages. The team was met on arrival by the Togolese ambassador to Ghana. Togo is in group G with Korea, France and Switzerland for the June 9-July 9 World Cup tournament.