The attack on Togo’s soccer team in Angola should be used as a yardstick for the Soccer World Cup security measures, said Local Organising Committee chairperson Irvin Khoza on Monday.
“I guess it’s for us to take that as an experience … we’ve got our own security plans but it can only be a lesson also that in terms of our security plans, that is a lesson that we can learn,” he said in an interview with SAFM’s After Eight Debate.
The challenge posed by the attack, he said, was in relation to the misconception that Africa was a country, not a continent.
“People in the world are thinking of Africa as one country … we don’t share the same border with Angola … it’s never close to South Africa.
“It was interesting that some of the questions around it, the sensitivity of that matter was raised with our [Police] National Commissioner [Bheki Cele] in terms of what is the threat, but I guess it’s for us to take that as an experience.
“I think South Africa is geared up in terms of the security plans and we’ve just agreed that the command and control of our security, regardless of whether it’s the police or the stewards, will fall under the direction of the SA Police Services,” he said.
Togo’s national team was attacked soon after their arrival in Cabinda, Angola, on Friday to play in the Africa Cup of Nations. The ambush on the team’s bus killed Amalete Abalo, an assistant coach, and Stanislas Ocloo, the team spokesperson and the bus driver. Eight others were wounded.
Togo’s goalkeeper Kodjovi “Dodji” Obilale was shot in the lower back and was flown to South Africa and operated on at Johannesburg’s Milpark Hospital, the Associated Press reported.
President Jacob Zuma extended his condolences to the government and people of Togo on Sunday, adding that the attack would not affect the Soccer World Cup.
He said South Africa remained “100% ready” to host the tournament and the Angolan incident had no bearing on the sitaution, presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said in a statement.
“He [Zuma] emphasised that the shocking and unacceptable attack on the Togolese team should not be blown out of proportion, but should serve as impetus for the African continent and the world at large to work even harder to rid the world of terrorist activity and violence wherever it surfaces.”
Zuma said the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) would demonstrate African prowess in football.
“The president is attending the games to support the Angolans on their hosting of the Afcon, to promote African excellence in sports and also to further deepen the warm, fraternal and historical relations between South Africa and Angola.”
Zuma arrived in Luanda, Angola, on Sunday to attend the tournament, accompanied by Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane and Deputy Minister of Sports and Recreation Gert Oosthuizen.
The president was expected back in the country on Monday.
Two held after attack
Meanwhile, police in Angola are holding two suspects in connection with the shooting.
Two suspects were arrested in Cabinda, close to where the attack took place, National Radio reported.
“Two people have been captured, when we have more information, we will pass it on to the public,” Antonio Nito, Cabinda’s provincial attorney general, told the station.
The attack occurred as the team bus headed into the oil-rich province of Cabinda from the Republic of Congo.
The Togolese team withdrew from the tournament following the attack and left Angola on Sunday evening to return home. – Sapa