Togo's team had flown back to its home nation for a three-day period of mourning and petitioned the CAF to rejoin the tournament afterward. The federation rejected that plan today and says Togo's group in the tournament will be three-headed between Ivory Coast, Ghana and Burkino Faso.
This is the saddest day in football in a long time. It's not getting enough attention, and that's squarely because this is a small African nation taking part in a tournament, that while is of high quality, isn't seen in large measure in Europe and certainly not in the U.S. Imagine if this had happened to any of the major European national teams? I dare say the African Cup of Nations would be on hiatus right now; make book on it.
That said, we're wearing our black armband as we take our weekly trip around the football blogosphere:
- Toward my point about the lack of attention on this slaughter, too much talk has been centered on Emmanuel Adebayor. In the intial hours after the attack, there were as many stories about Adebayor being OK (phew) as there were about the attack itself--not to mention the REAL VICTIMS! Not Adebayor's fault, but the media is latching on to the star. To his credit, Adebayor has been tremendous. Here's a great piece from Goal.com with the Manchester City star lamenting the violence around football in Africa.
- Another interesting piece about the machinations in place to get Adebayor, a big investment for City y'know, out of Angola following the attack. Adebayor is a class act, totally have a newfound respect for the guy. This Mirror blog post has just horrifying quotes from Adebayor recalling the attack.
"Last Friday at 14:30, we were all dead on that bus. We sent our last messages to our families. We called our family to say our last words."
- Footbo talks about whether the tournament should continue and FIFA's role. Interesting.
- Similar thoughts from the Reuters Soccer blog; wither the tournament.
- The Associated Press is reporting two separatists have been arrested in the Togo terrorist attack. The motive for the shooting was reportedly that the rebels were targeting the soldiers escorting the team bus. These guys are a bad shot then--animals.
- Trekking away from tragedy:
- Landon Donovan made his Everton debut. And by all accounts, he wasn't swayed by the big stage and the big-opponent debut against Arsenal.
- EPL Talk is equally praise-worthy of Donovan's play, but questions David Moyes' decision to pull Donovan after 68 minutes when he was clearly one of the best players on the pitch.
- Major League Soccer Talk has a roundup of the British reaction to Donovan's debut.
- The Original Winger gives us our transition. Here's Donovan on David Beckham.
- Look out for AC Milan. A bunch of old dudes tearing it up in Italy. Five goals mid-week vs. Genoa, then a 3-0 pasting of Juventus yesterday. Here's a comment on Beckham's impact on Milan.
- Donovan, Beckham and Ambrosini. Says it all for BigSoccer.
- Inter Milan, meanwhile, has an 11-point lead in Serie A and had the best finish of the season Saturday, with two goals in the final three minutes to beat Siena, 4-3. Coach Jose Mourinho wants some help during the transfer window.
- Everybody's always hatin' on Mourinho; former Juventus chief Luciano Moggi says Mourinho is a mix of luck and the match-fixing scandal of 2006. Whatever.
- Mourinho's principal thorn Carlo Ancelloti says Chelsea is not Mourinho's team.
- Here's a great analysis by Phil Ball on Soccernet of Pep Guardiola and Barcelona's doubters.
- Barcelona's pursuit of Cesc Fabregas is rankling the English, Arsenal supporters in particular.
- Benfica and Braga are in a battle to the death in Portugal; compounding matters is that Fenerbahce is chasing Benfica scorer Saviola.