The issue of Emmanuel Adebayor’s involvement with Toga in the African Cup of Nations has become an issue once again. Tottenham need a speedy resolution to this matter as his participation would leave Spurs with only one senior striker, Jermain Defoe, for the month of January.
Emmanuel Adebayor retired from international football following the horrific attack on the Toga team in Angola in January, 2010. The attack on the Toga team bus as they travelled to the tournament resulted in the death of three people with nine injured. All the players survived but Toga withdrew from the competition. A few months later Adebayor announced his decision to step down from representing Toga.
“I have weighed up my feelings in the weeks and months since the attack and I am still haunted by the events which I witnessed on that horrible afternoon on the Togo team bus. We were just footballers going to play a football match and represent our country, yet we were attacked by people who wanted to kill us all. It is a moment I will never forget and one I never want to experience again.”
The following November, he was persuaded to return to the team when the Toga Football Federation issued assurances about team safety. He has scored 26 goals for Toga in 54 appearances and has made three appearances this season. There was a problem, however, following last month’s friendly against Morocco over the payment to players and Adebayor threatened to quit international football once again if the payment was not made to the players. Adebayor insisted that other players would be joining him in this action.
At the beginning of December Adebayor who captains the national team confirmed his decision in a statement which was a disappointment to the Toga team manager, Didier Six.
“Togo international and captain of the Sparrow Hawks Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor hereby brings to the notice of the general public that he is suspending his international career with the Togo team.”
As the competition draws closer, Six is now trying to persuade Adebayor to change his decision, saying that he is doing all in his power to bring that about, knowing that Adebayor is so important to the team.
“He’s a world-class player and the Togo national team captain. He is very important to the group. I will put all my strength to get him to change his mind but he has the last word.”
This will be a matter of major concern for Tottenham who need a definitive and speedy answer to this matter. Tottenham have reached fourth place in the Premier League and qualified for the knock-out stage of the Europa League with only one striker for most of the season. Although Adebayor signed for Tottenham in August, issues with his fitness, niggling injuries and suspension have restricted his appearances. He has only started 6 matches for Spurs this season, scoring twice.
The final decision is with Adebayor, leaving Tottenham with the unthinkable scenario that an injury to Defoe would leave with no alternative available if Adebayor were to have a change of heart and go with Toga to the African Cup of Nations. Clint Dempsey scored regularly for Fulham last season but has only scored three goals this season while none of the young strikers in the Under-21 and Academy teams at Tottenham is ready for the step up to the Premier League. In fact the Tottenham Academy doesn’t appear to do strikers. They tend to produce midfield players but apart from the recent exception with the progress of Harry Kane who is currently injured while on a season long loan with Norwich City, there has been a distinct lack of strikers from the Tottenham youth system. Mark Falco at the end of the 1970s was the last forward to come through the ranks to become a regular at White Hart Lane. Although many young players were prolific goal scorers for the youth and reserve teams, none made it beyond that stage.
Signing a striker should already be part of the transfer wish-list for January but if Adebayor were to be away, it brings an urgency to the issue and the club would need to try to complete negotiations early in the month rather than wait for Daniel Levy’s preferred time of 31st January.
Will He or Won’t He?
My view is that Adebayor will probably do a u-turn and go to the competition with Toga but with the type of character that he is, he will probably draw it out to the last possible minute before announcinging his decision, making it even more essential for Spurs to have plans in place to sign a striker early in January.