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Sparrow Hawks to stay and play...

Despite the attack on the Togo squad in Angola prior to the start of the African Cup of Nations, the team has decided to continue on at the tournament so as to honour those who lost their lives in the horrific incident.

The Togo team bus was attacked by rebels on Friday, leaving three dead and eight people wounded. The players were consequently recalled by the government to return to Lome, but they have unanimously decided to stay and play.

"The entire delegation just met and, after all, we'll be on the pitch Monday to play against Ghana," midfielder Alaixys Romao told L'Equipe.

Striker Thomas Dossevi, of French club Nantes, confirmed that he and his fellow countrymen would trudge on despite the traumatic experience.

"In memory of the dead, the national team has decided to play in the African Cup of Nations," said Dossevi.

"We are all heartbroken, it is no longer a party, but we want to show our national colours, our values and that we are men."

Reports indicate that the group responsible for the attack - believed to be the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) - are planning further raids in an attempt to ruin Africa's showpiece football event.

But Romao added: "People died for this tournament, others were injured. We can't abandon them and leave like cowards.

"If we stay here, it's for them. But also so as not to give satisfaction to the rebels.

"Our government doesn't necessarily agree with us but we are determined to play in this competition. The decision was taken unanimously."

Togo are set to play Ghana in their first game of the tournament on Monday.

Adithya Ananth, Goal.com UK


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