Togo Silences Sierra Leone 3-1

27 March 2007 at 08:22 | 1161 views

By Abu B. Shaw, Vanguard London Bureau Chief.

The road to the grand finale of the African Nations Cup in 2008 is clearly a rocky one for Sierra Leone’s national football team, the Leone Stars.

Losing to the Hawks of Togo on Saturday March 24, has dented any dream that Leone Stars have garnered over the years to reach Ghana, where Africa’s foremost soccer competition is slated to take place in less than two years.

In Lome, the Togolese capital, the Leone Stars started brightly with some clever ball control thus forcing the host on the back foot for long periods. Sensing danger from the visitors, the Hawks of Togo quickly regrouped and their efforts paid off handsomely.

Eight minutes before half time, Togo’s most famous football star, Emmanuel Adebayor, 24, netted the opener in a clinical fashion to the delight of the home fans.

Amidst the deafening noise that followed in the stadium, Togo’s Belgian-based professional, Adekambi Olufade, added the second goal.

Leone Stars, undaunted as ever, fought hard and in the process pulled a very vital goal back. It was scored by Julius Wombay. At 2-1, the Togolese knew trouble was brewing and the Lome stadium was as noiseless like a grave yard.

As tension mounted and the Leone Stars kept piling pressure hoping for the much needed equaliser, Emmanuel Adebayor, who plays for English premiership club Arsenal, emerged from his slumber to score his second goal in the dying minutes of the second half. The score board read Togo 3, Leone Stars 1.

Disappointing Leone Stars was left to fight another day in group 9 which also features Mali and Benin. Only two teams from each group will qualify for Ghana 2008 with the group leader automatically qualifying for the World Cup in South Africa 2010.

Photo: Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President, Nahim Khadi.