If you have been thinking Togo’s players have moved on from the Cabinda attack that killed their bus driver, two officials and wounded their goalkeeper; you have to come down and talk to some who witnessed the trauma of 8 January 2010 to feel the still-living fear.

When Togo’s most emblematic player of all time - Manchester City’s Emmanuel Adebayor - retired from international football last April as a result of the Cabinda incidents, local fans and football officials were left in awe, trying to contemplate the future of a debased national team.

Now, another blow has just hit them, as defensive midfielder Jacques-Alaixys Romao, who has just signed with French Ligue 1 FC Lorient, announced on Radio France International (RFI) on Friday that he was quitting the Sparrow Hawks in consequence of the Cabinda misfortune.

But contrary to Adebayor’s early, personal and probably definitive decision, Ramao’s is tentative, and he’s issuing it in solidarity with another Togolese player, Kodjovi Obilale – the goalkeeper who had been gravely wounded in the Cabinda’s attack.

Ramao tells RFI: “I told some of my mates within the team before deciding to leave, and I will not come back if nothing is done to improve Kodjovi Obilale’s condition.”

Obilale is now healthy and living in France, but Ramao who says he visits the goalkeeper frequently reveals that his financial situation is deplorable.

“It seems everybody, especially the FA, has abandoned Obilale. He’s with no financial resources because of what he went through. He can’t even take care of his family. How do you want us to keep playing when one of us is suffering? When I will be sure that Togo have started taking good care of Obilale, I would announce my comeback to the team,” he says.

Togo’s team itself has not fully recovered from the Cabinda shock. The 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifiers already played by Togo produced very modest results – a draw with Chad in N’djamena and another draw, this time at home in Lome against Malawi.

Togo are to play an international friendly against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh on 11 August.


goal.com