Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Afcon

Emmanuel Adebayor © Backpagepix

Adebayor looking to put Togo in quarters

Emmanuel Adebayor has a chance to lead Togo to the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals for the first time on Wednesday, while already qualified Ivory Coast may leave out captain Didier Drogba again.

Togo will face Tunisia in Nelspruit needing at least a draw to finally get past the group stage. It would be the first time in eight appearances that Togo would advance.

"I am excited that Togo is ever so close to a historic qualifier," Adebayor said.

Tournament-favorite Ivory Coast, last year's runner-up, has already secured first place in Group D, so the match against Algeria in Rustenburg will allow coach Sabri Lamouchi to make more changes to his lineup. He said he still doesn't know if he will bench Drogba for a second straight match.

"I still haven't decided who will play, but definitely we will see new faces in the lineup against Algeria," Lamouchi said through a translator. "Because of the situation we are in, I'll be able to use some of our youngsters."

Ivory Coast, seeking its first title in more than 20 years, won the first two matches and has six points, three more than Togo and Tunisia. It won't be surpassed even if it loses to Algeria because it has the tiebreaker advantage against Togo and Tunisia.

Lamouchi benched Drogba and other regular starters in the team's 3-0 win over Tunisia on Saturday, saying he didn't feel they were ready after a lackluster performance in the opener against Togo, against whom the Elephants needed a late winner.

Lamouchi said Drogba was fully fit and the decision about whether he will play will not be based on his physical condition. The coach also said the rest of the players were pleased with the news about Drogba moving from Chinese football to Galatasaray.

"We are happy for him," he said. "He's joining a club playing in the Champions League, it's going to be good for him to play at a high level again."

Togo and Tunisia have three points each in Group D, but Togo has the tiebreaker advantage because of a better goal difference, meaning it can advance with a draw. Algeria has zero points after losing both games and has been eliminated.

Adebayor, one of the tournament stars along with Drogba, helped Togo keep its hopes alive by scoring his first goal of the tournament against Algeria on Saturday. The team eventually won 2-0 to recover from the opening loss to the Elephants. Adebayor dismissed critics who have complained of his lackluster play so far, saying he is just worried about scoring goals, not showing off his skills.

Togo didn't qualify for last year's African Cup and was forced to withdraw from the 2010 tournament in Angola after two team officials and a driver were killed when gunmen ambushed their bus. The team also faced problems before this year's tournament, with Adebayor threatening not to play because of security concerns and disagreements with Togo's federation over bonus payments for players.

"Adebayor is a good player, with big quality, but we also have good defenders," Tunisia defender Aymen Abdennou said. "I know Adebayor is a good player but the team is 11 players."

Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi said he expected young midfielder Youssef Msakni to recover from a bronchial infection in time to face Togo at Mbombela Stadium. Msakni, who scored the late winner in the opener against Algeria, did not practice with the rest of Tunisia on Monday but was back in action on Tuesday.


Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls


More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Other Live Streaming

Event Streaming

Channel Streaming

Sports Talk

Carol Radull
How do you pay tribute to Thierry Henry?
If you’re a fan of the classic musical “The Sound of Music” then you will be familiar with the...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Some refs invite criticism
Why is it that some referees appear to invite criticism? Why is it that some referees put a...

Neil Tovey
Backing Tinkler for the big time
With Vladimir Vermezovic having jumped ship, Orlando Pirates find themselves in a state of flux.

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Wenger in or out? I say out!
After Arsenal’s loss to Stoke City this past weekend, the call for Arsene Wenger to step down as...

Sunday Oliseh
Football's new undisputed best club?
When Barcelona appointed Pep Guardiola as head coach in 2008, their primary objective was to stop...

Arjun Vidyarthi
Make or break time
Ten years ago today, I remember Andy Gray's iconic commentary at Anfield, when Steven Gerrard...