FIFA PROBES ‘FAKE’ TOGO FOOTBALL TEAM AT BAHRAIN MATCH
Fifa, the governing body of world football, is investigating allegations that a fake Togo team played a match against Bahrain earlier this month.
Bahrain won the friendly match 3-0, but said they were surprised by the poor quality of the Togolese team.
Togo later said it had never sent its national team to play in the game, staged at the national stadium in Riffa on 7 September.
Both countries and Fifa said they were investigating the match.
It took place as Bahrain prepares to play in the West Asian Football Championships, which begin on 24 September.
The Bahrain Football Association (BFA) said it had been arranged under all the usual official procedures, and through an agent they had known for several years.
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They were not fit enough to play 90 minutes; the match was very boring'
National head coach, Bahrain
“Everything seemed to be in order until after the game, when we began to hear that some people are wondering about these players and this Togo team. We ourselves were surprised when we heard this,” a BFA spokesman told the Gulf Daily News.
He said they had received all the official documentation for the match, including the players' passports.
The spokesman rejected reports that the match was organised by a fake football agent, saying the agent in question had always been “100% alright” and was now co-operating with the investigations.
Togo's sport minister, Christophe Tchao, told the Jeune Afrique magazine nobody in Togo had “ever been informed of such a game”.
“We will conduct investigations to uncover all those involved in this case,” he said.
Bahrain's head coach, Josef Hickersberger, told the Gulf Daily News the match had been a wasted opportunity for the team to practice before the West African championships.
“They were not fit enough to play 90 minutes – the match was very boring,” he said.
“Basically it was not good for us because we wanted to get information about the strength of our team, especially playing with many of our professionals.”