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Friday 22 August 2014

Spurs striker Adebayor hints at Villas-Boas rift as he goes to African Nations Cup

Paul Hirst

Published 09/01/2013 | 16:24

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Emmanuel Adebayor will play for Togo in the African Nations Cup

EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR has been included in Togo's African Nations Cup squad despite the striker hinting Andre Villas-Boas was not totally happy about him playing in the competition.

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Spurs confirmed this afternoon that after weeks of indecision, Adebayor had finally agreed to answer his country's pleas and will play in the tournament, which runs from January 19 to February 10.

Spurs boss Villas-Boas has always insisted when asked about the situation that he would be happy to let Adebayor go to the tournament despite the fact that it would leave him with only one recognised striker in Jermain Defoe.

Yet Adebayor hinted in an interview that despite Villas-Boas' public declaration of support, the Portuguese may not be happy with the 28-year-old's participation in the tournament.

"That is what he said to the press, but not what he said to me," Adebayor said.

"There is a difference between what you say to the press and what you say in private."

Adebayor retired from international football following the deadly gun attack on the Togo team bus at the competition in Angola in 2010.

He reversed his decision the following year, but he then retired again in 2012. Initially he said he would not compete for Togo due to a row over unpaid bonuses, but then claimed his refusal was down to fears the Togo team could be subjected to another horrific attack similar to the one in Angola.

Three people, including Togo's assistant coach, were killed during the ambush when terrorists sprayed the team's coach with machine gun fire. Adebayor hid under a seat and survived the attack.

After meeting with Togo president Faure Gnassingbe, Adebayor was convinced that security around the team had been improved, and that he would be safe during the tournament, which will this year be held in South Africa.

Adebayor added: "I have met the head of state on two occasions. We talked, I told him what was wrong with Togolese football.

"He must, at all costs, find solutions. We discussed it and he guaranteed that he will take charge of everything.

"In 2010 I wanted to go to the African Nations Cup to win and you saw all that happened, how that turned out. I hope this time will be better for me, for my team-mates, for all of Togo."

Villas-Boas will now have to deploy Clint Dempsey or Gylfi Sigurdsson alongside Defoe for the duration of Adebayor's absence - which could be up to four matches - or sign another striker.

Villas-Boas admitted earlier this season that Leandro Damiao was on Tottenham's shortlist, but the Brazil striker's agent claimed yesterday that despite reports to the contrary, Internacional had not received any fresh bids for the highly-rated forward.

Spurs have also been linked with Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha, but chairman Daniel Levy has not lodged a bid for the player.

One crumb of comfort for Villas-Boas is that he will have Adebayor available for Saturday's trip to QPR, after which the striker will head to South Africa for Togo's pre-tournament training camp.

That Togo are big outsiders to progress from a group containing Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia will also be a boost to Villas-Boas.

Should Togo be eliminated from their group, Adebayor will be free to fly home on January 30, perhaps leaving him free to play for Spurs at West Brom having only missed their fixtures against Manchester United and Norwich.

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