Seyi Emmanuel Adebayor’s troubled football career may be heading from bad to worse after being stripped of the captainship of the Togolese national team, the Hawks during the AFCON qualifiers against Liberia last Sunday.
SEA, as he is aptly called has endured a well documented dispute with members of his immediate family, comprising his mother and siblings in the last six months which is yet to be resolved.
Although, the embattled Tottenham Hotspur striker emerged from the tie as the hero after scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory against the Lone Stars of Liberia, he has declared himself unsure of his availability for the next away fixture against Djibouti in September. “For now, I don’t know – I’ll be here and I’ll talk with the coach. I need to know whether he really needs me in the team or not,” he said.
The vocal star player attributed his decision to the disrespect he received from the national team handlers. “To tell me on the day of the match that I will not captain the team then it is very disrespectful,” he said.
Adebayor explains further: “I have been the captain for seven or eight years and then one morning I’m told I won’t be the captain – that means that we can go to Djibouti and he will put me in the stands. So I’d rather quit the team than be sidelined or put in the stands there and I think this will be better for me and the team.”
The former Arsenal and Manchester City striker whose club career has been on the firing line since he suffered loss of form and loss of place in the Tottenham starting line up, however, said that if he eventually decides to return to the national team after his summer holiday, he does not want to captain the Hawks. “From now on, I will never captain this team again,” he declared.
However, Togo’s new coach Tom Saintfiet has played down the issue, insisting that Adebayor remains in his plan. “I don’t want to talk too much about this topic because I think that Emmanuel Adebayor is a natural captain for the team. He does not necessarily need to have the captain’s armband when he plays – he is the captain and the greatest Togolese player.”
Saintfiet nearly had a dispute with the hot-headed star in the build-up to the match against Liberia when the striker was dropped from the squad for a friendly against Ghana.
The Belgian-born coach claimed that Adebayor and two other players were axed as they had not attended all the training sessions nor stayed at the team hotel. But the Tottenham star insisted that he had told the coach he wouldn’t play in the friendly in the days before the match.
Both men eventually buried the hatchet before the Liberia match insisting “there was no problem at all”.
The striker has taken several breaks from playing international football in the past, including in the wake of the terrorist attack on the Togolese team bus at the 2010 Nations Cup finals in Angola and how Saintfiet handles the latest spark could determine whether Togo would enjoy the services of its greatest football export again or not.
By Olisemeka Obeche