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Togo's Romao Refuses To Play In Libya

Togo player Alaixys Romao has decided not to go to Libya for Friday's World Cup qualifier because of security concerns while striker Serge Gakpe said the trip to the north African country is not worth risking his life for.

Image: Courtesy
(Courtesy of Super Sports). Togo were the targets of an attack during the 2010 African Nations Cup in Angola when separatist gunmen ambushed their bus in the Cabinda province, killing three members of the squad and forcing them to withdraw from the tournament.

World soccer's ruling body Fifa has moved Friday's Group I tie to Tripoli after clashes between protesters and a militia killed at least 31 people on Saturday in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi where the game was initially scheduled to be held.

However, the move was not enough to convince some players to make the trip.

"I'm about to take off from Lome to come back to France," Olympique Marseille midfielder Romao wrote on Twitter.
"After having been through a traumatising experience in 2010 at the African Nations Cup in Angola I don't want my family to live with that stress again," added the 29-year-old who has 50 international caps.

"Tripoli or Benghazi, what's the difference? I will change my mind only if Fifa's officials who have made the decision come with us."

His concerns were echoed by teammate Gakpe in a French radio interview.

"To play a game of football in a climate of insecurity, to put my life at risk for it is not worth the trouble," he said. "Several members of the squad have the same mindset as me."

Libya, whose former ruler Muammar Gaddafi was toppled during the 2011 civil war, drew at home with Democratic Republic of Congo in their first home game in more than two years on Friday, played under high security in Tripoli.

They top the four-team group with six points from four games, with Togo bottom on four.