Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Togo v DR Congo: Agassa could miss crucial game after vandals hit home

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Jan 2017

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Togo need a win against DR Congo to progress to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations, but will likely have to do so without goalkeeper Kossi Agassa after an ugly reaction to his performance against Morocco.

Agassa struggled in the 3-1 loss on Friday, conceding a pair of goals from set-pieces before being beaten by a long-range effort for the north African side’s third.

His home in the Togolese capital of Lome has subsequently been vandalised by fans attributing the loss to Agassa and coach Claude Le Roy revealed he is unlikely to feature in the Group C finale in Port-Gentil.

“He was really affected when he heard the news,” said LeRoy. “Whether he wants to play or not, I will respect his decision.

“Agassa does not deserve such treatment. We are all supporting him because, after all, football is a game.

“He is very upset and it has had an impact on the morale of the whole team, I think it has scarred him too much psychologically. His mum has so far found it difficult to talk about it, it was so stressful and a cause of panic for her.

“I really doubt he will be able to play a third match.”

Togo need to win and hope Ivory Coast beat Morocco to progress to the last eight, while leaders DR Congo – who overcame Morocco 1-0 before drawing 2-2 with Ivory Coast – only require a point to be absolutely sure of a place in the knockout rounds.

“Since the beginning [of the tournament] I have said that Togo is an opponent that is more than tough,” DR Congo coach Florent Ibenge said.

“That’s why I say that we are not yet qualified. This is a tricky game.”

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Togo – Cedric Mensah

With Agassa seemingly set to be absent, the spotlight will be firmly on reserve goalkeeper Cedric Mensah. The 27-year-old plays his club football for Le Mans in the fifth tier of French football, and a meeting with DR Congo strikers Dieumerci Mbokani and Cedric Bakambu will represent a step up in a class for a player with 15 caps to his name.

DR Congo – Junior Kabananga

In DR Congo’s bid to go one better than their semi-final appearance two years ago, Junior Kabananga has been a key figure. He has scored twice in the opening two games, and will look to make a similar impact to ensure progression.

 

KEY OPTA STATS

– Togo have only reached the knockout stages once in their previous seven participations; it was in 2013 when they went out in the quarter-finals.
– DR Congo are unbeaten in their three AFCON encounters with Togo (W2 D1). Their last meeting in the competition was in the 2006 group stages, with DR Congo winning 2-0.
– Junior Kabananga has scored two goals from just two shots for DR Congo at AFCON 2017 – this is one more goal than Togo have as a team (1) despite Claude Le Roy’s side attempting 20 shots overall.
– Emmanuel Adebayor has attempted six shots for Togo at AFCON 2017, but is yet to score. Since 2006, he’s scored just once in eight appearances (690 minutes in total) at AFCON tournaments.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

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