Reports suggest that Bahrian 3-0 win over Togo in a friendly game wasn’t really a win over the Togolese team. Instead, they were playing a ‘fake’ team, with the official / pre-approved squad list replaced by a new list of players provided by team officials minutes before the start of the game.
Bahrain head coach Josef Hickersberger described the match in Riffa on 7 September as “boring” and “a wasted opportunity”, bemoaning the lack of quality of the opposition side. Togo, on the other hand, claim to have no idea of the game being organised or held for that matter.
You’d think that if a game was being played in your country’s name you’re bound to find out ahead of time.
“Nobody has ever been informed of such a game,” Togo’s sports minister, Christophe Chao, told Jeune Afrique. “We will conduct investigations to uncover all those involved in this case.”
According to the Gulf Daily News, the BFA vice-president Shaikh Ali bin Khalifa al-Khalifa confirmed Bahrain went through all the correct channels in organising the match. Shaikh Ali added that all the paperwork received before the friendly were officially signed and stamped from the Togo Football Federation. The Bahrain Football Association said it had been arranged under all the usual official procedures and through an agent they had known for several years.
No word yet on whether those 18 players have now disappeared in Bahrian or have safely returned to Togo having won (supposedly) their first and only international cap for Togo. Assuming that the Togo sports minister actually knows what’s going on and the actual Togo team never traveled to Bahrain, it’s likely that someone – presumably a middle man – is a lot richer as a result of this farce.