Togolese players Alayxis Romao and Jonathan Ayite have ruled themselves out of a World Cup qualifier against Libya in Tripoli out of fears for their safety, the Togolese Football Federation said today.
The African Zone 2014 World Cup qualifier set for Friday has been switched from Benina near Benghazi to the capital Tripoli, but some Togolese players wanted the match to take place in another country altogether.
The decision to relocate the match was taken after 31 people were killed and 100 wounded in clashes involving former rebels, who helped to topple former dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and demonstrators in Benghazi on Saturday.
“Alayxis Romao and Jonathan Ayite will not participate in the match against Libya,” Herve Agbodan, spokesman for the Togolese federation, said of the Marseille midfielder and Brest striker.
“They have returned to France, citing security reasons.”
He said Togo will travel to Tripoli with 20 players and had called on Francis Collin, a striker for Al Mussanah (Oman), after Romao and Ayite’s departure.
The Togo squad have bad memories of troublespots as their team bus was attacked by gunmen on the eve of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations hosted by Angola.
Two members of the entourage as well as their Angolan bus driver were killed and several players were woundedPublished 13 Jun 2013, 17:56 IST