Togo’s 2-0 victory over Algeria was another sign that the team had come together following a recent turbulent history with the Africa Cup of Nations, striker Emmanuel Adebayor said.
Adebayor was on target in Rustenburg on Saturday as Togo’s campaign got back on track after they suffered a late 2-1 defeat in their opener against group D leaders Ivory Coast.
The Tottenham striker said that the first match had already shown that the team is intact.
“We had some hard times and you know today that Togolese football has some issues to resolve. Somebody had to take the lead and I think as the captain, now that things are back to normal, functioning, you can see that we played a very good game against Ivory Coast,” he said.
“We did not win unfortunately but it shows that we have all come together as we have moved forward. We can do much better things. I m one of the happiest tonight.
Days before the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations was to start in Angola, the Togolese team bus was attacked on January 8 in the Angolan province of Cabinda on their way to the tournament.
Three people, bus driver Mario Adjoua, assistant coach Amelete Abalo and media officer Stanislas Ocloo, were killed, and seven people were wounded.
The attack led to Togo withdrawing from the 2010 tournament, Adebayor retiring from international football and the team being banned for the next two editions of the tournament.
But the ban was later overturned and Adebayor returned to national colours in November 2011.
Adebayor was pleased to have scored but stressed the importance of the team collective in beating Algeria and helping their chances progressing to the quarterfinals for the first time on track.
“I’m happy and we dominated the game, and we knew qualification was necessary for this one and the players, we spoke and were very honest with one another. Today we won the game and congratulations to my teammates,” the 28-year-old said.
“As for my goal, it’s always good to score in Afcon (Africa Cup of Nations) … It’s not so much important to have a great Adebayor. What is important to me is to score goals, it’s not a festival. We’re here to win. If the country is happy then I’m satisfied. If you want to see me have fun, meet me in May when I’m on holiday.”
Coach Didier Six said the win was very satisfying and deserved.
“It was one of the hardest games we have played. We were facing a very hard Algerian team and Togo had the ambition to win and I think we deserved the victory,” the Frenchman said.
The victory now sets Togo up for a grandstand finish against Tunisia, with both sides playing for second place in the group while Ivory Coast having already secured first place and a place in the knockout rounds.
Togo have a superior goal difference and only need a draw on Wednesday in Nelspruit to progress.