Togo certainly possess a highly experienced goalkeeper in between the sticks. Kossi Agassa has 66 caps for his country and at 38 years old, there’s not much he hasn’t seen! Agassa has been without a club for most of this season but the ex Reims custodian is probably just what they need, even if he might be rusty. Togo have a backline which is also highly experienced. Unless the coach tries something different or they get injuries, then all of the starting back four will likely have at least 30 caps to their name. The most recognisable figure for them in defence is probably Serge Akakpo who plays over in Turkey these days.
The midfield shouldn’t be too bad and a key man for them in the middle will be Alexis Romao. Often an underrated player, the ex Marseille man is a true workhorse in the middle of the park and can be counted on to hound the opposition. Togo don’t have bad wide options with Mathieu Dossevi, Razak Boukari & Floyd Ayite in the squad. The latter, now plying his trade with Fulham in the Championship hasn’t been in bad form this season. All the talk will be about captain and talisman Emmanuel Adebayor though. Without a club since the summer, he’ll be leading the line for Togo. Despite his lack of match fitness nobody can afford to underestimate him. He’s scored 31 goals in 66 appearances for Togo which is a fantastic hitrate. Maybe there’s some life in the old dog yet!
Draw & outlook
Togo have been dealt a manageable group, although at the same time they are the least fancied outfit, and for good reason. They don’t possess the sort of quality in depth that the other side have got. However, the Sparrow Hawks are an experienced unit and will relish being the underdog. They are coached by Claude Le Roy who has been to the African Nations Cup on many different occasions and I’m sure they’ll be no mugs. I think we’ll see some times when they defend well, and some other occasions when they look decent enough going forwards. Whether or not they can deliver a consistent display for 90 mins though is questionable. I could see them causing an upset in one, or maybe even a couple of group games. Due to fitness concerns they could struggle in the second half of most fixtures. The most realistic outcome is to finish bottom of the group, albeit perhaps in a dignified fashion.
Group prediction: 4th