The African Football Confederation (CAF) has banned Togo for the 2012 and 2014 editions of the Africa Cup of Nations. Wait, what?
Togo, whose bus was attacked by machine gun fire , killing two players, has been banned from future competition for pulling out of the current Cup of Nations? Ridiculous.
By definition of humanity, the CAF has failed miserably in this case. Unable to protect players, coaches, trainers, and staff the CAF now decides to shift burden to the nation of Togo, a nation already rocked by tragedy before the Cup even began. The CAF cites “government interference” as their reason behind the ban.
Togo’s immediate reaction after the shooting was to withdraw from the tournament. However, the players reconvened and stated their desire to play.
Despite the players wishes, the Togo government requested the team return to Togo and forgo their participation in the tournament.
The players were willing to put on a brave face and play for their country, but their leaders were not ready to close the wounds so quickly.
Whether they were correct to bring the team home or not, the government was certainly acting in the best wishes of their people. To give all the time to heal, and to protect those who were serving the Togo crest.
To call that "government intervention" is outrageous, but it doesn’t end there. Regardless of whether the government made the decision or not, Togo would still be facing the same punishment as the CAF also cites a rule that states:
“A forfeit notified less than 20 days before the start or during the final competition shall entail in addition of the forfeit of the entry fee, a maximum fine stipulated by the regulations as well as the suspension of the concerned national association for the following two editions of the African Cup of Nations.”
However, “The executive committee and CAF repeat their profound sympathy to the families of the victims of the tragic attack.” Wow. Real classy CAF, real classy.