Rock Gnassingbé returns as FA chief

18/01/2009
Rock Gnassingbé returns as FA chief

Rock Gnassingbé was voted back as head of the West African country's football association on Sunday, two years after he was forced out of the job due to an embarrassing World Cup debut in Germany in 2006.

Rock won the presidency of the Togolese Football Federation (FTF) in an election supervised by world soccer body FIFA.Rock Gnassingbe has already served two four-year mandates as head of the FTF but was voted out of office in early 2007 amid outrage after the national team threatened to go on strike over pay during their inglorious 2006 World Cup debut.

Within months Gnassingbe's successor Tata Avlessi was banned by the Confederation for African Football (CAF) after being accused of attempting to bribe a referee in an under-17 match against Tunisia, although the ban was overturned on appeal.

In a further disgrace to the national game, Togolese fans attacked Malian players in October 2007 after an African Nations Cup qualifier defeat. FIFA banned Togo from hosting its next four home internationals, forcing the matches to take place abroad.

Coach Henri Stambouli walked out on the team last year after four months in the job, complaining of constant in-fighting among the federation's officials.

Togo's international lineup boasts Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor, one of three nominees for the CAF's Footballer of the Year, but the domestic game is in crisis and the main league failed to get underway as planned this season.

After a request from President Faure Gnassingbe, FIFA recommended the FTF hold Sunday's elections for a new executive board.

"I will ensure these repeated crises tarnish our footballing image no more," Rock Gnassingbe, who holds the rank of colonel in the national army, said after his election.

 

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