Angolan journalists were hindered from speaking to their players and officials in the mixed zone after the team was eliminated from the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations following their 2-0 loss to Cote d’Ivoire on Monday in Malabo.
It is still unclear what motivation was behind the tight escort from the Angolan police, who guarded the squad out of their dressing room straight to the team bus without paying attention to journalists at the interview area in accordance with the competition rules.
One of the 15 Angolan journalists present in the area said they had been threatened with reprisals on their return home if they showed footage or reported the incident.
“They said we will be punished when we get back to Angola,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Officials at the Nuevo Estadio de Malabo confirmed that the around 20 truncheon-wielding police were from Angola and not from Equatorial Guinea, which is co-hosting the tournament with neighbouring Gabon, and that they were employed to prevent journalists from speaking to the Luanda-bound delegation.
“I think the security operatives were simply trying to quell the frustration which was perceptible within the outfit after the loss,” Goal.com’s source, who was at the scene, said.
“Fearing that their own journalists (Angola’s) might ask the coaching staff and officials, not necessarily the players, provocative questions, they opted for total avoidance, sparking bizarre suspicions here.”
Angola finished third in Group B, tying Sudan on four points, but they were disadvantaged by goal difference.