Bahrain, Togo launch investigation into mysterious match

September 12, 2010
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Bahrain and Togo have launched separate investigations into a football match in which Bahrain hosted a mysterious Togo team last week.

The Gulf country won the friendly 3-0 on September 7, but Togo said that it never sent its national squad to Manama and did not know who the players fielded for the match were.

Christophe Tchao, Togo’s sports minister, said he was shocked by the news.

“Nobody has been informed about the match,” he told Jeune Afrique, a pan-African magazine. “We will conduct an investigation to uncover all those implicated in this issue.” The Togo football team, known locally as Les Eperviers, The Sparrow Hawks, on September 4 lost an African Cup of Nations elimination match in Gaborone, Botswana.

Some of the names fielded in the mysterious Togo team against Bahrain were Ali Ousseni, the goalkeeper, Aboudou Adama and Tiekour Aba.

Initial reports say that an agent sold the match to Bahrain who were preparing for the Asian championship to be held in Amman, Jordan, starting on September 24.

A Bahrain Football Association (BFA) official said that their past dealings with the agent had been highly professional.

“This particular match was arranged through an agent whom we have been dealing with in the last few years. In the past, all our business with him were 100 per cent all right; he is a very professional agent who arranges games, training camps, referees, etc,” ,” the BFA official told Bahrain daily Gulf Daily News.

“For this game with Togo, as per all the letters and paperwork we received, along with the players’ passports, etc, they were all official documents from Togo’s football federation. Everything seemed to be in order, until after the game when we began to hear that some people are wondering about these players and this Togo team. We ourselves were surprised when we heard this. On our end, we have all the proper papers and we have the approval from Fifa. We have raised this issue with the agent concerned, and he is cooperating with us. We are now awaiting his reply, and we will act accordingly upon receiving this.”

However, the BFA said that Togo may have fielded a reserve team, as their first squad may have played in their qualifying match against Botswana.

“Because they had played another important game only a few days before facing us and also had to deal with travel, playing a lower or second Togo team is very possible; right now we cannot be sure about that, but it could explain the poor level of the players,” he said. “They could also have had trouble with the very hot and humid weather during the match, or the fact that it was played in Ramadan. A lot of questions have been raised from this friendly game, and we are now looking into all the allegations.”

Bahrain’s win was their first victory in an international game under recently signed head coach Josef Hickersberger.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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