NIBOMBE Wake is pleading for help with the injuries he suffered in January 2010, when a bus carrying the Togo national squad and coaches was attacked by armed rebels in the Angolan enclave of Cabinda.
The 46-year-old is a former Togo international and was goalkeeping coach for the national side in 2010 says the Togolese authorities are not helping as he continues to struggle with his foot injury.
He was on the bus that was on its way from Pointe-Noire in Congo-Brazzaville, where the team had been preparing, to the city of Cabinda where Togo were set to play its games in the group stage of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
The attack saw two members of the Togo delegation killed, assistant coach Amelete Abalo and journalist Stanislas Ocloo, as well as the Angolan bus driver Mario Adjoua.
The most severely of those injured was goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale, who had a bullet in his spine, while the goalkeeping coach Wake was shot in the foot.
“It’s unfortunate because what we thought should happen on our return has not been the case” Wake told BBC Sport Africa.
“I had a bullet in my right foot and so far it’s been trouble on that foot. A bullet to a man’s body, it really requires a good treatment.
“We arrived after that tragic event and oddly no one, absolutely no one, has helped me for the treatment.”
Despite some initial treatment on his return to Togo there has not been any further follow-ups according to Wake and another player injured in the attack, who preferred to remain anonymous.
Wake says he has been left struggling to walk for the past year and his financial struggles mean that he has been using traditional doctors to try and help him.
He says that to this day there are remnants of the bullet left in his foot causing the problems.
“It is the bullet that entered my right foot during the shooting in Angola that really affected my health and destroyed my life.” he continued.
“Since then l could not walk even after l treated myself. I started walking by holding a crutch few days ago.
“So I’m living in very deplorable conditions after having served my country.
“The only job l can do is football so l decided to become a goalkeeping coach when l retired.
“But now that l cannot walk how am l going to live and feed myself?”
However, the anonymous player also explained each member of the delegation in 2010 was given a participation bonus of $18,500 (10 million CFA), despite Togo withdrawing from the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Togolese Football Federation (FTF) also insists the all the victims of the attack have been compensated.
“l also heard about the complaint of our former goalkeeper (Wake) and l can say that l am astonished by what he said,” the FTF secretary general Pierre Lamadokou told BBC Sport Africa.
“Because we all know that there was a committee set up by the authorities to handle all matters related to the participation of Togo at CAN 2010 in Angola.
“The committee did its audit and gave its account and according to them all the victims of the attack in Cabinda were given a financial compensation.
“If Nibombe Wake, who was a great man for this country, seems to have problems following his injury in Cabinda, l do not think that he has to say it in public place.
“He must rather seek officially for the help of the authorities and we shall see what to do for him.
“He was a player and later became the goalkeeping coach for Togo.
“As a member of the coaching staff, he always received his salaries and other bonuses anytime we established a temporary work or training camp to train before a game.
“The Togolese delegation including players and coaches are among the best paid in the sub-Saharan region, they are paid 500000 CFA franc or $1,000 per week at a training camp and 3 millios CFA francs or around $6,000 USD for wining a game.
“So when they retire they cannot say that they are living in deplorable conditions.
“We all work in order to save money to live in better conditions when we retire.”
However, Wake insists that he has not received any help from Togolese authorities.
“l did not receive any financial assistance from Togolese authorities,” he explained.
“I was like a leader of the players and member of the coaching staff but since l came back after the shooting in Angola in 2010, l did not receive anything even from the insurance.
“It is shameful that we do not respect and honour our old heroes in Togo.”
Wake was Togo’s first choice keeper for several years and was part of the Hawks squad at the Africa Cup of Nations in 1998 and 2000.
He also won the Ghanaian league title when he was with Obuasi Goldfields, the club that is now known as Ashanti Gold. – BBC
- Nibombe Wake – Appeals for support
- Goalkeeper Wake during his heyday with the Togo national team