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Emmanuel Adebayor: Striker Is Togo's Key to Deep Run in Africa Cup of Nations

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JANUARY 26, Emmanuel Adebayor of Togo is challenge by Essaid Belkalem (R)of Algeria during the 2013 African Cup of Nations match between Togo and Algeria at Royal Bafokeng Stadium on January 26, 2013 in Rustenburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Gallo Images/Getty Images
Pete SchauerCorrespondent IJanuary 30, 2013

In an Africa Cup of Nations Group D pool that includes Ivory Coast, captain Emmanuel Adebayor must be at his best for Togo to make a deep run.

While the stat sheet won't indicate it, Adebayor's performance in Wednesday's 1-1 draw with Tunisia was much appreciated.

He assisted on what ended up being Togo's only goal of the match, setting up Serge Gakpe's goal in the 13th minute.

In Togo's 2-0 defeat of Algeria on Jan. 26, Adebayor connected on a goal in the 32nd minute to give his club the lead—one that it would never relinquish.

It's certainly been a different Adebayor than Tottenham fans have seen this season.

The 28-year-old striker has struggled playing for Tottenham, scoring just three goals in 18 matches with the EPL club this season.

But on the big stage, playing for his country, Adebayor has elevated his play.

From leading Togo to a World Cup qualification in 2006 to helping it advance to its first quarterfinal appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations, Adebayor has been influential to the Togo squad for years.

His goal against Algeria seems to have sparked his confidence, because the striker played with more energy and aggression against Tunisia on Wednesday.

Were it not for his goal against Algeria that sparked the offense or his assist on Wednesday in defeat of Tunisia, his team likely wouldn't be where it's at.

With Burkina Faso and its midfielder Alain Traoré up next, Adebayor needs to be at the top of his game in order to advance. Traoré has three goals in two games during the Africa Cup of Nations.

 

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