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Salifou: I still have nightmares

Mighty Milner From The Manager
Salifou: I still have nightmares

By Paul Brown

Moustapha Salifou admits he still has nightmares about the horrendous shooting incident before the African Cup of Nations.

Salifou recalled the horrific events as he faced the press at Villa's training base at Bodymoor Heath.

Villa's cult hero revealed he thought everyone was going to die as the team coach came under fire from rebels in the Cabinda region of Angola as the Togo side travelled to the tournament.

A clearly emotional Salifou said: "Since I've come back, when I sleep now I know I'll wake up at three or four o'clock in the morning and dream that somebody is shooting at me.

"I feel bad for my team-mates and our assistant coach and press assistant who died but it's life. I have to move on and forget it but it's not easy."

Recalling the incident itself, Salifou added: "After 15 minutes of the journey, they started to shoot.

"We had to lie on the floor and everyone was crying. We had to wait 30 minutes to travel.

"To be honest I was thinking that everybody was going to die on the coach but I can see that God saved us.

"We were just lying on the floor and then we heard the gun shots passing over our heads.

"Before I came off the coach, I had to crawl and because I was crawling I could see the blood on the floor in the coach.

"We were evacuated in some small cars and after that we went to the hospital.

"When we were there in the daytime I saw our goalkeeper who called me over.

"He said 'we are here for the football but just look at what happened to me. I have two kids and if I die, if I die now what is going to happen? Who is going to look after my kids? At that point everyone started to cry."

Salifou also revealed the Togo side believed the region of Angola was safe before they travelled to the tournament.

He said they would have flown if they had any suspicion the area was dangerous.

He continued: "I think we were in the wrong place but the Angolan government told us that they had security and everything was okay in their country.

"We had people tell us that everything was ok and that's why we took the road journey. If they had told us that it was not safe then we would have flown. You'd take the flight."

After three days of mourning, the grief-stricken squad pulled out of the tournament under the orders of Togolese Prime Minister Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo.

The Confederation of Africa Football responded by banning Togo from the 2012 and 2014 African Cup of Nations.

Salifou felt this decision was unfair and believes Togo will appeal the decision because they have been picked on because of their status as one of the smaller nations in the tournament.

He added: "Nobody is going to say that Cameroon is banned from two African Cup of Nations. It's just because Togo are a small country."

By @AVFCOfficial 10th February 2010
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