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Wenger: Togo attack no excuse to recall African players

ARSENE Wenger has said that his fellow Premier League managers must not use the attack on the Togo team in Cabinda as an excuse to haul their African players back to England.

The Arsenal manager is concerned that a selfish desire to have key players, who would have missed a month of domestic action during the Africa Cup of Nations, back in the squad will be the main motivation for anxiety expressed by clubs.

"That's why I don't want to (ask for my players back)," the Frenchman said. "It wouldn't be fair, let's say that. Behind things like that, is it a selfish motivation or is it a real issue over security? We, here, are not in the best position to judge the security of this competition."

Arsenal pair Emmanuel Eboue and Alexandre Song are on international duty with Ivory Coast and Cameroon respectively, but Wenger is not asking them to return in light of the Togo bus attack.

"When you hear sometimes there's unrest in the suburbs of London, you still live well in London," he said. "When I speak to my friends in France, they ask me: 'Is a revolution happening in London?' I don't like this culture of fear, either. I hate that."

Wenger, however, acknowledged that some details about security in Angola are worrying. "You hear many noises now that they were told not to travel by bus," he said. "So I don't know what happened there. And why no one from the official organisation was travelling with them."

Steven Pienaar, the South Africa midfield player who scored for Everton against Arsenal in the 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, insisted that it was not a mistake to award the tournament to Angola. "Every country deserves to be host nation and if you win the bid, the people have to work at it," he said. "I know this area quite well. Angola is a country which has been dismantled through civil war over the years. It's just sad. I don't think anyone was surprised to hear they were holding games in Cabinda. An incident like this is disappointing but I think the tournament should go ahead."

Pienaar added that there was no need for increased concern about this summer's World Cup.

"South Africa and Angola are two different worlds," he said. "I understand how people might be worried. They have seen what has happened and think it might happen in South Africa. But this would not happen in South Africa."

© The Times, London