Adebayor to play for Togo in African Cup
Emmanuel Adebayor has been called up by Togo and will go to the African Cup of Nations, English club Tottenham said Wednesday, ending uncertainty over the striker's involvement in the tournament later this month.
Adebayor had threatened to turn down the chance to represent Togo over security concerns and disagreements with its football federation over bonus payments for players, but traveled to Africa this week for talks with the country's president, Faure Gnassingbe.
Gnassingbe appears to have convinced the Togo captain to change his mind and make himself available for the African Cup in South Africa, which starts on Jan. 19.
Tottenham said in a statement that the 28-year-old Tottenham forward would now meet up with Togo after Saturday's Premier League match against Queens Park Rangers.
"The club can confirm that Emmanuel Adebayor has been called up by the Togo FA for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations,'' Tottenham said. "The striker will be available for this weekend's fixture against Queens Park Rangers before travelling out to South Africa to meet up with his international teammates ahead of the championships.''
Togo was scheduled to announce its 23-man squad for the African Cup on Wednesday to meet the Confederation of African Football's deadline for teams to release their final lists. The tournament runs from Jan. 19 to Feb. 10.
Tottenham, which is third in the Premier League, will be left with only one out-and-out striker - Jermain Defoe - once Adebayor departs. However, Adebayor could return as early as the end of January, with Togo set to face a stern challenge in the group stage against title favorite Ivory Coast, Algeria and Tunisia.
Adebayor had flown to Ghana on Monday to meet with Gnassingbe, who was in Accra on official business. The Togo captain then traveled home on Tuesday, where he was given a warm welcome at the airport - although he wouldn't commit then on whether he would play at the tournament.
"If I am going to the African Cup of Nations,'' he said, "it is to do something extraordinary. And I know that the fans know what I am capable of doing.''
Adebayor also said Gnassingbe had personally promised to ensure Togo's football was better run, starting with the upcoming campaign in South Africa.
Adebayor temporarily retired from international football in 2010 after a gun attack on Togo's team bus at that year's African Cup of Nations in Angola. Two members of the Togolese party were killed and goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale was badly hurt and hasn't played since.
Adebayor was convinced to return but fell out with federation bosses in December over what he called "mismanagement and a lack of transparency'' and initially said he would not play for his country at this year's African Cup.
South Africa will be Togo's first appearance at the African championship since the deadly attack on the team bus in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda, which led the country to withdraw from that tournament. Without Adebayor, Togo then failed to qualify for the last tournament in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.