Wednesday 25 April 2018

Wenger happy for Arsenal stars to stay in Africa despite Togo attack

Sam Wallace

Arsene Wenger has criticised clubs who called for players to return from the African Cup of Nations following the Togo attack and said that he is happy for Alex Song and Emmanuel Eboue to stay in Angola.

The Arsenal manager was talking in the light of public calls from the Hull City manager Phil Brown and Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside, both of whom have players from their clubs in Angola, where the Togo team bus was the target of a terrorist attack on Friday that left three dead.

The decision would rest with FIFA and they have shown no sign of cancelling the tournament or allowing players to return home. That would be a major blow to African football and in private the competing nations are coming under pressure from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to stay in it.


Wenger said that the decision should not be made under pressure from European clubs. He said: "It wouldn't be fair (to bring players back). What is 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.

"If you organise the European Championships and you have an incident like that -- it can happen, and has happened already -- you do not want all your players suddenly to move home."

The Togo players were ordered back from Angola by their prime minister Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo and were due to fly into Lome, the Togo capital, yesterday.

Manchester City are understood to have ordered a plane to fly Emmanuel Adebayor back to Britain although there is confusion over his eligibility to play in City's forthcoming matches.

After they play Blackburn Rovers tonight, Roberto Mancini's team face Everton on Saturday, a game in which Adebayor could arguably play in.

However, given that Togo left Angola without FIFA's agreement there is a question mark over whether he will be breaking the rules on international clearance by playing in the match.

FIFA published a letter yesterday from its president Sepp Blatter to Isaa Hayatou, the CAF president in which he sent his condolences to the bereaved. (©Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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