« The seven ages of the World Cup Finals | Homepage | Travelling to Dortmund »

June 19, 2006

Introducing Togo, the nation

If everything has gone to plan, this entry is being published automatically by some computers in the U.S.A. (bless them) whilst I stagger blindly around a hotel in Dortmund with the mother of all hangovers trying to work out how my brother-in-law and I are going to get to the stadium in Dortmund to see Togo versus Switzerland for 3pm, or some ridiculously early kick-off. Although I've been to games at European Championships in Belgium and the Netherland during Euro2000, and was at the Euro96 final at Wembley, I've never been to a World Cup Finals match before.

So look out for us in the crowd - we'll be the pair with crosses for eyes.

Why don't we take our minds off of football for a moment, and talk about Togo the country.

I have to confess I knew nothing about Togo until I got the tickets to watch their match today, and I'll be supporting them as the underdogs.

However the political history of the country is not an inspiring one. Once Togo gained independence in 1960, when French Togoland became Togo, it swiftly became a virtual herditary dicatatorship. Gnassingbe Eyadema seized power in a 1967 military coup and ruled until 2005. His son Faure Gnassingbé came to power after his father had been the top dog for 38 years, thanks in part to a diverted Air France plane carrying the person who constitutionally should have taken over, some subsequent nifty constitutional re-drafting, apparently rigged elections, and some unpleasant intimidatory tactics. Since 1993, because of Togo's record on human rights and democracy, it has faced economic sanctions and withdrawal of aid from the European Union.

Nobody expected them to do very well in the World Cup, and the fact that their coach resigned three days before their opening game and was then reinstated, whilst the players threatened to go on strike over their bonus payments, didn't bode well.

Despite going in front, they lost their opening match to South Korea. If they lose today against the Swiss they will almost certainly be eliminated from the competition, os, political strife back at home notwithstanding, I'm still kind of hoping they can sneak something from today's game.

« Previous | Homepage | Next »


Not quite as glamourous as travelling to Germany but think of us on Sunday watching England in Hyde Park on a (hopefully) big screen, beer in hand before sauntering off to watch Alison and then the Basildon Boys on the main stage.

The comments to this entry are closed.

« Previous entry: The seven ages of the World Cup Finals
» Next entry: Travelling to Dortmund

A lemon tree of our own

  • The journal of a British couple who left the UK to set up home in Hania, Crete.
  • Homepage

Search this site

Powered by TypePad