After watching Bahrain defeat Togo 3-0 in a friendly earlier this month, head coach Josef Hickersberger was surprisingly disappointed with what he witnessed. The Al-Ahmar boss described the game as “boring” and “a wasted opportunity”.
Little did he know at the time, but it has since emerged that the Togo team on show in Riffa were not the official Togo national team. It seems a letter sent to the Bahrain Football Association (BFA) before the game listing the 20-member Togo team, including each player’s passport number and date of birth, was completely different from a list handed to a team official minutes before the game kicked off.
Like a pair of squabbling schoolboys, BFA and Togolese Football Federation are bickering over the finer details of this monumental balls-up.
Togo sports minister Christophe Chao told Jeune Afrique: “Nobody has ever been informed of such a game. We will conduct investigations to uncover all those involved in this case.”
Meanwhile, BFA vice-president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa confirmed Bahrain went through all the correct channels in arranging the international match.
FIFA are investigating the case.