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Gun attack on Togo team leaves clubs frantic

ENGLISH football clubs were frantically trying to contact their players in Angola for the African Cup of Nations after terrorists attacked a bus carrying the Togo team, killing the driver and injuring seven people, including two players.

Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor was unhurt, although he was said to be badly shaken by the attack near the city of Cabinda, a hotbed of terrorist activity for years.

Adebayor and his team-mates will decide by this evening whether to pull out of the tournament, which is due to start tomorrow.

Togo's first match is scheduled to be against Ghana on Monday.

That could trigger a wave of demands from English clubs to bring their stars back. Players worth tens of millions of pounds, including Michael Essien and Didier Drogba, of Chelsea, Kolo Toure, Adebayor's team-mate, and Emmanuel Eboue, of Arsenal, were among a legion from the Premier League in Angola.

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill is considering recalling Moustapha Salifou, who was on the coach, while Portsmouth were immediately in touch with the English Football Association to ask Fifa to step up security.

But the damage has been done and the ripples from the attack could reach the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer, where the issue of security has been a constant worry.

Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, will also be in a state of shock, having invested his faith and the world governing body's money in promoting football in Africa.



investigation

Fifa will begin a thorough investigation today, starting with a review of security. The severity of the attack shocked police and government officials in Angola. Thomas Dossevi, the Togo and Nantes striker, told how the team coach was riddled with bullets.

"Several players are in a bad state," he said. "We were machine-gunned like dogs and had to remain hidden under our seats for around 20 minutes to avoid the bullets."

Hull manager Phil Brown has revealed his shock following the gun attack on Togo's players and wants his two players at the tournament -- Gabon striker Daniel Cousin and Nigerian midfielder Seyi Olofinjana -- to return to England.

Brown said: "I am appalled. This throws a question mark against next summer's World Cup. You simply cannot put the safety of players, officials and fans at the slightest risk. That is totally unacceptable."


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