Nations Cup 2013: Togo team profile

By Hans Masro BBC Africa
Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor

Nations Cup record: Six previous appearances.

If the Confederation of African Football had had their way, Togo would not be playing in South Africa.

After the Hawks withdrew from the 2010 finals on the eve of competition, following the gun attack by Angolan separatists that killed two delegation members as the team entered Cabinda, Caf banned the Togolese federation from the next two Nations Cup finals

But Fifa overturned the punishment and Togo, presented with this second chance, have returned - seeing off Kenya on the away goals ruling in the second round before coming through a tricky qualifying task when beating 2012 co-hosts Gabon by the narrowest of margins.

Having retired from international football in the wake of the Angola tragedy, the return of Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor proved key to the triumph - with the striker scoring the equaliser in the first leg (1-1) before firing the winner in the second (2-1).

Adebayor again made the headlines when he was initially left out of the squad for the finals, having criticised the lack of organisation and good management of the national team, but then included at the insistence of Togo's football federation president Faure Gnassingbe.

In six previous Nations Cup visits, Togo have never reached the knock-out stages so their aims in January will be crystal clear.

Aside from Adebayor, Togo will rely on the talents of young French-based players like 25-year-old striker Serge Gakpe, who plays for Nantes, Lille's 22-year-old forward Kalen Damessi and the Ayite brothers, Floyd (Reims) and Jonathan (Brest).

The experience of 34-year-old Reims goalkeeper Kossi Agassa, who is one of Togo's most capped players, should also provide help and reassurance for the younger members of the team.

Ameyi Gabriel, the chairman of Togo's Football Association, insists: "We're going to play without any fear."

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