Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Adebayor defends Spurs absence

Emmanuel Adebayor insists poor organisation by the Togo Football Federation, and not his own laziness, was the reason behind his late return to Tottenham following the African Nations Cup.

Togo were eliminated on February 3, but despite the fact that he was Tottenham's only fit striker, Adebayor did not land back in England until five days later - less than 24 hours before the club's crucial Barclays Premier League game against Newcastle.

Adebayor on Thursday night lifted the lid on the events of a bizarre week which saw him stranded in Africa thanks to what he claims was a lack of organisation on the part of the federation - something that has riled the former Arsenal striker in the past.

Adebayor claims the TFF left him and his team-mates stranded in a hotel in South Africa for four days while they tried to fly to Togo to meet the country's president, who wanted to see them after their historic progression to the quarter-finals. Adebayor says they arrived in Togo on Friday morning, which meant he could only return to London later that day when Spurs chartered a private jet to get him back to England.

"I read about (criticism), but, I was just trying to help my team-mates in the national team," Adebayor said following Thursday night's 1-1 draw in Lyon. "We went out on the Sunday, then we tried to find a plane to go to Togo to see the family and the president.

"It took us four days to get a plane. On Thursday I had to call the president (Faure Gnassingbe) to tell him we had to leave South Africa. He told us to get to the airport at 4pm. We did, and we ended up staying at the airport for more than 10, 12 hours.

"That's not my fault, I couldn't do anything. I can't just put something on my body and fly from South Africa to London. I couldn't just abandon my team. We went to the quarter-finals of African Nations Cup, which was historical for my country.

"I could not just jump on a plane and come back to Tottenham, because the president of the country wanted to see us and congratulate us. I am the captain so I have to be there. So that's what I did. Then I got the flight the club sent to me."

Adebayor has often lashed out at the TFF over what he sees as an unprofessional approach to organising a national football team. He was so worried that the federation would not organise sufficient security around the team in South Africa that he feared there could be a repeat of the deadly gun attack on the team in Angola three years ago.

Things have not gone smoothly for Adebayor at club level this year either as he has scored just three times this season, leading to questions over his commitment. However, Adebayor said: "I've seen people dying in front of me. I've seen people with guns so I take 30,000 people abusing me as a joke. I get a tough time but I have to keep going because I could have been worse."

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