Togo was forced to forfeit the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations due to a tragic shooting incident they encountered before the tournament.
The terrible situation led to the death of their bus driver and goalkeeper as well as two other players sustaining serious injuries.
Emmanuel Adebayor, who was the captain of the team at the time has labeled that incident as the scariest experience in his life and is grateful to God to be alive and fit today.
Sharing the traumatizing experience on his YouTube Channel, Adebayor said they found themselves in an unfortunate situation while on their way from Congo to Angola for their first game of the tournament against Ghana.
“We jumped in the bus and set from Congo to Angola. We reached a place and saw there were a lot of security officials. The way they dressed was as if they were going to war. As footballers, we only made fun of it. We were just young boys and were just having fun. Our bus had to be delayed because they had to check our documents. It took us thirty minutes to get that sorted and we crossed that border to where the AFCON was being. We had two buses. One for the equipment and one of the players. While on the bus, I asked that the AC be turned on but I was told that there was no AC on that bus and that the one with the luggage had AC. The players were already to swap but I convinced them that we should use that one and enjoy the natural air.”
According to Adebayor, the journey was problem-free and they were almost at their destination when they heard an explosion.
He narrated that machine guns followed suit after the explosion, which led to the death of the driver while their goalkeeper, Kodjovi Obilale sustained serious gunshot injuries that have paralysed him until today.
“The bus with the equipment was in front and that of the players was behind. A few minutes into the journey we heard a big explosion and I thought it was fireworks. But I looked around and there was smoke all around and all I could hear was go down. There were machine guns firing. It was like a movie. We were shouting and there was a bit of silence then we found out that the driver was dead. Our second goalkeeper started crying about his leg but we thought he was joking. Then we started seeing blood in the car and he took off his shirt and we saw that his singlet was all red.”
Emmanuel Adebayor and the rest of the squad including three players who sustained injuries escaped the scene with the help of their military escort.
Togo abandoned the tournament leaving their group with three nations, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso.
Speaking after the incident, Obilale told L’Equipe newspaper that he is a ‘miracle’.
“I’m a miracle. I want to go back home. When the tension increases in me, I lose it, I want to break everything. I want to see my children again and be back with those closest to me.”