Update- Togo has pulls out of”>decided to play after all. Their goverment is also asking for an apology from Angola and Africa Cup officials.
The rest of my original post is below
Hosting the African Cup of Nations was Angola’s chance to show it is recovering from decades of war, but tragedy struck as gunmen sprayed bullets at Togo’s national team, killing three people and forcing its withdrawal from the soccer tournament.
Africa’s main soccer tournament was expected to open as planned on Sunday, even though players from other countries expressed shock at the ambush on the Togo team bus as it traveled through Angola’s restive oil-rich Cabinda province.
“We have goose bumps … who knows what is going to happen to us,” Amade Chababe, assistant coach to the Mozambique national football team, told AP Television News as the squad passed through Johannesburg en route to Angola on Saturday.
In South Africa, the local organizing committee of the World Cup said the attack had no relevance to the upcoming global sports event that starts in June. Spokesman Rich Mkhondo said FIFA views Friday’s attack as an isolated incident that could have happened anywhere in the world.
That’s a awfully dumb thing to say. How many machine attacks on buses full of athletes have happened in other parts of the world. I’m too far away to know if this is an isolated incident but will note that a violent civil war took place in Angola starting in 1975 and that it lasted almost 30 years.
The attack in Angola, a former Portuguese colony, killed an assistant coach, a team spokesperson and the bus driver, according to the team and the Togolese government.
“Despite this, the championship will go on,” Angola’s sports minister, Goncalves Muandumba, said.
In 1961 the entire U.S. Figure skating team was killed in a plane crash as they traveled to the World Figure Skating Championships. As a result the World Championships were canceled that year. How many of the other participants really want to go on after this tragedy. Won’t any victory feel bittersweet in the end?
It is perfectly understandable why Togo felt the need to withdraw. I don’t understand why this soccer tournament has to go on after this tragedy instead of being postponed.
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