(Story written and originally published by The Standard newspaper – Kenya)
By Mutwiri Mutuota
The President of Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot) Mohammed Iya, has slammed attacks against the Togolese national football team in Angola ahead of the Nations Cup that start today.
Speaking to Feverpitch yesterday, Iya said Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) decision to let the tournament go on despite the shocking machine-gun attack was commendable though security needed to be tightened.
“I would like to send my sympathies to the Togo Football Federation following the attacks. I heard about them on my way to Nairobi and such acts must be condemned.
“Angola, we all know, has just come out of war, but we cannot absolve authorities in Angola from blame. CAF’s decision to let the Nations Cup go on is good,” Iya said.
He arrived to join the Cameroonian team that is based in the country before they leave for their Group D opener against Gabon on Wednesday.
“We have not discussed with the team, CAF and officials on whether to withdraw Cameroon from the tournament, but we hope everything will be okay,” the Fecafoot chief said when asked whether they had thought about pulling out of the Cup following the incident.
On his team’s chances of lifting a fifth Nations Cup, Iya said, “Why not? We have a good blend of experienced and young players and a good coach who has instilled discipline and self belief in the team.”
The bus carrying the Togo team and Togolese football officials was shot at with machine guns shortly after it crossed the border from Congo into Angola on Friday.
The border area is considered as unsafe, given the presence of various rebel groups.
“We have been receiving instructions not to go to Angola by bus and other security updates regularly and we are following them,” Iya disclosed.
Cameroon played Harambee Stars last evening in a friendly match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani.
The bus driver carrying the Togolese team died on the spot while assistant coach and press officer died later in the hospital.
The team announced later they were consulting with the players before deciding to pull out of the tournament. Emmanuel Adebayor had pulled out of the event.