Togo makes France sweat

…. for the goal-less first half of the game, but after Patrick Vieira’s goal in the 55th Minute the Eperviers collapse and France reels in a 2-0 victory.

Too bad that the first appearance at the Worldcup was such a bumpy ride for the team from Togo. But I hope they still had a good time in Germany (especially the players who don’t live in Germany). I certainly enjoyed watching the games at my favorite bar here in Durham. They played very spirited football and showed great resilience, despite their difficulties with their management. FIFA has intervened and assures us that the players will be paid by the FTF.

La Liberation has an interesting portrait (fr) of the president of the FTF (Fédération togolaise de football):

Président de la fédération togolaise et fils de l’ex-dictateur Eyadéma, l’imprévisible Rock Gnassingbe a plongé son équipe dans le chaos pour son premier Mondial.
Gnassingbe Rock’n’Roll par Stéphane Regy, 19 juin 2006.

Regy describes the son of Togo’s late strongman Gnassingbé Eyadema as a poor manager who allows very little financial transparency, and who appears to prefer the company of the animals at his private zoo to the mundane duties of running an organization.

The zoo at the Togolese camp in Germany was a direct result of the incompetent leadership at the FTF, and resulted in an ill-prepared and distracted team that was unable to realize all its potential. The chaos also sadly reinforced old stereotypes about Africa and African leadership. But worst of all, it let down the people of Togo, who deserve better than that, and who could have really used a boost in national self-confidence after the political unrest of the last six months.

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