Emmanuel Adebayor: Veteran striker in Togo squad for crucial Afcon qualifier

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Sierra Leone
Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor first played for Togo in a World Cup qualifier in Lusaka in July 2000

Veteran striker Emmanuel Adebayor has been included in the Togo squad for their crucial 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Benin in Cotonou on 22 March.

Adebayor, 35, who plays his club football with Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey, is among 22 players picked by the Sparrow Hawks coach Claude Le Roy for their group D encounter.

The former African player of the year has played three of Togo's five matches so far in the qualifying campaign.

Togo know that only a victory in Benin in their final 2019 Nations Cup qualifier will book their place in Egypt.

Benin - who held Togo to a goalless draw in September - just need a draw to go through. Group leaders Algeria have already qualified and play The Gambia who still have faint hopes of qualifying.

2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers: Group D after five matches:
Algeria10 points (Qualified)
Benin7 points
Togo5 points
The Gambia5 points

Togo coach Claude Le Roy has also called up veteran midfielder Alaixys Romao who plays regularly for French Ligue 1 club Reims. He is included for the first time since the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finals in Gabon.

France-born Alaixys was part of the Togo squad at the 2006 World Cup.

Former Togolese Under-20 international Idrissa Ogodjo, currently with DC Motema Pembe in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is handed his first call-up while Ihlas Bebou who plays for German Bundesliga club Hanover 96 is recalled after recovering from injury.

Fulham's Floyd Ayité, Mathieu Dossevi of French club Toulouse and Djene Dakonam who is with Spanish side Getafe are also included.

Chateauroux forward Razak Boukari was initially named in the squad but has been forced to pull out after being told he needs surgery on a thigh injury that has ended his season early.

Togo's best performance at an Africa Cup of Nations came in 2013 when they reached the quarter-finals in South Africa.

Togo squad:

Goalkeepers: Bassa-Djeri (Cotton Sports, Cameroon), Barcola Malcolm (Lyon, France), Ogodjo Idrissa (DC Motema Pembe, DR Congo)

Defenders: Djene Dakonam (Getafe, Spain), Steve Lawson (Livingston, Scotland), Wilson Akapkpo (Al Shoulsa, Saudi Arabia), Gbegnon Simon (Beziers, France), Ouro-Sama Hakim (Lille, France), Akoro Bilal ( As Otr, Togo), Kouloun Maklibè (Dyto, Togo), Djoyagbo Kodjovi (As Otr, Togo)

Midfielders: Floyd Ayite (Fulham, England), Dossevi Mathieu (Toulouse, France), Romao Alaixys (Reims, France), Atchou Franco (Fremad, Denmark), Bebou Ihlas (Hanover, Germany), Sunu Gilles (BB Urzumspor, Turkey)

Forwards: Mlapa Peniel (VV Venlo, Netherlands), Fodoh Laba (Rsb Berkane, Morocco), Denkey Kevin (Beziers, France,) Adebayor Emmanuel (Istanbul BB, Turkey).

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