Adebayor had previously retired from international football following the attack in January, 2010 on the Toga team bus travelling to the competition in Angola. The attack, in which all the players survived but three other people were killed, resulted in Toga withdrawing from the tournament and Adebayor retired due to concerns over safety. He later returned to play for Toga at the end of 2011.
Adebayor is a vital player for Toga who want him to participate in the tournament but he is equally important to Tottenham who have only one other senior striker, Jermain Defoe, although Clint Dempsey could cover for Adebayor if Spurs reverted to the 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 formation they played earlier in the season.
Following the win over Reading when Adebayor scored Tottenham’s second goal, Andre Villas-Boas spoke about the situation, stating that the decision was one for the player to make. Villas-Boas said,
“It’s a vulnerable situation, anything can happen. I’ve told you the player can go, I understand it’s still a possibility. I’m not going to put pressure on him. We’ve left it up to the player to decide.”
The problem is not an easy one to resolve as FIFA could impose sanctions if Toga called up the player and he were not to turn up. FIFA only accept injury or illness as reasons for a player not to be available for selection, they do not recognise “retirement from international football” as a valid reason. In light of this, it has been reported that Toga intend to call up Adebayor for the competition which runs from 19th January to 10th February. If Toga were to progress to the latter stages of the competition, Adebayor could miss up to five Premier League games, including home games against Manchester United and Newcastle United and the away matches at QPR, West Brom and Norwich. He would also miss the next round of the FA Cup if Spurs defeat Coventry City in the 3rd Round and would only be returning to White Hart Lane ahead of the first game in the Europa League against Lyon in mid-February.
As Villas-Boas stated, the decision lies with Adebayor but from Tottenham’s point of view, they require a decision quickly.
Will Adebayor go to the Africa Cup of Nations? Personally, I think he probably will go, but being the complex character that he appears to be, he will probably leave the decision to the last minute.