Togo coach Claude le Roy is not sure if veteran goalkeeper Kossi Agassa will play in a crucial game at the African Cup of Nations after his house in Lome was vandalized by supporters who blamed him for a loss.
Agassa was “emotionally affected” by the news and will be allowed to skip Togo’s final group match against Congo in Gabon on Tuesday if he wishes, Le Roy said. Togo’s hopes of qualifying for the quarterfinals rest on the game.
Agassa’s home in the Togolese capital was placed under police protection after it was attacked on Friday, shortly after Togo lost 3-1 to Morocco at the African Cup. Authorities said they would also watch over the property on Tuesday night, when Togo was to play Congo.
“He was really affected when he heard the news and received calls from Togo after the sad incident,” Le Roy said Monday. “We are all supporting him because, after all, football is a game. Whether he wants to play or not (against Congo), I will respect his decision.”
The 38-year-old goalkeeper, who has played for Togo for 19 years, had a tough time in the 3-1 loss to Morocco, conceding two goals from set-pieces and then allowing a long-range shot to skip past him for the third.
But he also helped Togo hold defending champion Ivory Coast to a 0-0 draw in their opening match.
“Agassa does not deserve such treatment,” Le Roy said.
Togo has history when it comes to fans taking out their frustrations on players’ houses. In 1998, Togo striker Salou Bachirou’s house was damaged by people angry at what they considered his poor performances at the African Cup in Burkina Faso.
It’s not just soccer fans who go too far.
In 2007, fans threw rocks and stones at India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s home and also burned effigies of him after a loss to Bangladesh at the cricket World Cup in the West Indies. Dhoni’s parents were given police protection.
Togo can only qualify for the quarterfinals of the African Cup in Gabon if it beats DR Congo, the Group B leader, in Port-Gentil on Tuesday night.