CAF Shows it is in Charge of African Football
By Bright Lokenge
Togo's sanction by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) stays. In the just completed draws for qualifiers for the 2012 African nations Cup in Lubumbashi, Congo, Togo is conspicously absent as one of the continent's elite teams that would be vieing for the converted trophy. Togo's national team was sanctioned after the team failed to honour its commitments at the recent 2010 African Nations Cup (AFCON) in Angola. Embroiled in a terrorist attack in Cabinda, with some of its players and officials wounded or killed, the Togolese Football Association (FA) failed to communicate with CAF and the organising committee of the tournament. Rather, the Togolese relied on media reports to convey messages to CAF and simply boarded a plane to Lome sent by their all-powerful Head of State Faure Gnassimbe.
However, when the team arrived Lome, they began showing interest to return to Angola and participate at the AFCON, after the tournament had kicked off. Perhaps, possible reminiscence on their error of judgment. Whilst in this limbo, the Togolese failed in the basic of bureaucratic decorums to send a memorandum to CAF.
Rather they relied on media outlets, especially as the western media granted dozens of interviews to their team Captain Emmanuel Adebayor, even at the hour of gun-fire in Cabinda. Togo's first meaningful correspondence to CAF only came after the team had been officialy notified by the CAF Secretariat of sanctions metted for match forfeiture.
The absence of Togo in the draws for 2012 AFCON has thus shown who is in charge in Africa's football: is it the media, the rebels or the CAF technical commitee with its rules etched on African rock? Perhaps, if football rules were malleable France would not be going to FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa.