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More Soccer and Political Violence in Africa

- January 8, 2010

Rebels of the Angolan Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec) have attacked the team bus of the Togo national team as it was entering Angola from the DRC to play in the African Cup of Nations. At least two players were injured and the bus driver was apparently killed. Togo’s star player and one of the best forwards in the world (Adebayor) escaped the attack without injury. This all comes after the violence surrounding the World Cup qualifier between Algeria and Egypt and the peculiar defection of twelve players from the Eritrean soccer team to escape repressive conditions at home.

I am sure this will raise doubts in the minds of many about the wisdom of holding the World Cup in South Africa this summer. I am not quite willing to go that far. South Africa is a country with a great deal of crime but no real resistance that seeks to overthrow the government. High profile sporting events have long attracted terrorist and rebel attacks, not just in Africa (just think of the Munich Olympics). Anyway, this is terribly tragic news for those involved.