Togo pair Ouro-Akoriko and Wome pick Free State Stars over country and risk losing 2013 Afcon squad selection

Togo stars pull out of international to be ready for Free State Stars Telkom Knock Out cup semifinal
Togolese pair Sadate Ouro-Akoriko and Dove Wome put cup ambitions ahead of the African Nations Cup finals by both withdrawing from a midweek trip to Morocco to prepare instead for Sunday’s Telkom Knockout semifinals.

The pair were under heavy pressure from Free State Stars officials to stay at home and concentrate on the match against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Phuthaditjhaba … and buckled under the strain.

But by pulling out of Togo’s 1-0 win over Morocco in Casablanca on Wednesday they have also jeopardised their chances of going to the Nations Cup.

It was a tough call for the west African-born duo who will be integral to Stars’ plans to win the provincial derby and book a cup final place for the first time since they contested the final of the same competition in 1996 when it was known as the Coca-Cola Cup.

Had they played in Morocco they would not have got back to Stars’ base at Bethlehem before this afternoon (FRI) and effectively missed an entire week of preparation under coach Steve Komphela.

Under FIFA rules players must return to their clubs within 24 hours of friendly internationals, which strengthen Stars’ case in discouraging the two to travel.