Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Troubles for Arsenal's Adebayor

Emmanuel Adebayor is going through a pretty tough time these days.
We told you yesterday about his being dropped from the Togo national team after a row over money.

Now word leaks in that he's receiving death threats.

That's not something to be taken lightly, especially in the wake of the apparent murder of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Wooler after Pakistan's elimination in the Cricket World Cup.

Adebayor's been arguing with the Togo Football Federation over money he feels he's owed. Most players receive stipends to appear in international tournaments. Adebayor feels he hasn't been paid enough for his services in leading Togo to their first ever World Cup this past summer in Germany.

Luckily, he scored two goals and set up the third in the 3-1 win over visiting Sierra Leone this past weekend in Nations Cup qualifying. "Thank God I scored two goals," Adebayor said. "I do not know what will happen to me if I had not scored those goals."

It's not the first time Adebayor's been in trouble with the national team. Last year, he threatened to leave the African Cup of Nations after a spat with the coach. "He can go," Togo captain Jean-Paul Abalo said at the time. "He didn't just betray his team, he betrayed the Togolese people."

Togo's 2006 World Cup appearance was marred by this dispute over financial bonuses, a situation that almost led to the team boycotting their first World Cup match against Switzerland. Adebayor didn't play too well in Germany, leading to Togo having a sub par performance and being eliminated in the first round. Criticism was heaped on the Arsenal striker.

But this is a different animal.

With all the money bandied around to star athletes in poor nations, the average person in Togo might feel Adebayor's overstepped the boundaries of good taste. People are struggling to survive while Adebayor plies his trade for Arsenal in London, asks for more money to represent his country (and by association, his people) and doesn't even play well when the opportunity arises. Many might ask what right Adebayor has to act like this.

Unfortunately, by giving him such high regard and esteem, people have given him this right. He's a star player, attracts lots of money and gives exposure to the West African nation.

Threatening him with death is an awful atrocity. Luckily, Adebayor has England and a safe place to go away to.

"I am going back to Arsenal in London to reflect and think about my future. I have to protect my life. I have a family to look after," Adebayor said.

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