How about the story that a coach takes a group of players to play an international game as the Togo national team. The game is played but it turns out the players weren’t the Togo team at all but a bunch of impostors. You think it couldn’t happen?
Togo’s assistant coach Tchanile Bana has been suspended for three years for doing just that, taking the impostors to play against Bahrain.
Bahrain played the match as a warm-up for the upcoming West Asian Football Championships which start at the end of this week. They won the game 3-0 but were surprised by the poor quality of the opposition. Bahrain coach Josef Hickersberger said,
“They were not fit enough to play ninety minutes. The match was very boring.”
The game took place on 7th September and last week the Togo football federation said it had no knowledge of such a friendly. The real Togo side had played an African Nations Cup qualifier just two days before that in Botswana.
The federation, known as the FTF, also said that they had found Tchanile Bana guilty of organising the ‘fake’ game.
In a statement issued by the FTF they said,
“The organisation, the preparation and supervision of the match were planned by Tchanile Bana.”
The matter becomes even more amazing when you hear that Bana had already been suspended for two years for organising a match in Egypt in July without the knowledge of Togo’s sports authorities. Despite that, Bana was still assisting the Togo technical team.
The FTF have vowed that Bana will not be the only person to be punished as a result of this embarrassing incident.
“Full light must be thrown on the Bahrain affair in order to unmask and impose sanctions on his accomplices operating within the FTF.”
Bana, who has twice been the coach of the national side, has apologised for what he has done.
“I present my sincere apologies to the president of the republic, all the Togolese people and the president of the Bahrain FA. I’m aware of the mistakes I’ve made. I’ve received a three-year ban. I’m obliged to accept it in a gesture of sportsmanship. I wanted to help youngsters in Togo who chose to play football, but who have problems making it because of a lack of competition at a national level.”
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