Togo’s leading all-time scorer Emmanuel Adebayor is in national soccer coach Tom Saintfiet’s doghouse.
The Belgian-born coach, who signed a three-year contract last May, compared the Togolese striker to a “bad date” after he missed the West African country’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Djibouti two weeks ago.
Last June, Adebayor – who has netted 29 goals in 63 appearances for Togo since 2000, threatened to miss the qualifier after he was stripped of the captaincy.
He appeared to stick to his promise, infuriating his coach.
“If you are dating a woman who does not want to respond positively, then you must look for another woman,” said Saintfiet who, in 1997, became soccer’s youngest manager at age 24. “For me, it’s clear he’s a player who does not want to play for his country anymore.”
Saintfiet said Adebayor didn’t respond to Togo soccer officials’ text and e-mail messages requesting a reason why he didn’t show up for the match, which Togo won 2-0 to maintain the lead in its group that also includes Liberia and Tunisia.
Adebayor played for Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid before joining Tottenham Hotspurs on loan in 2011. In August 2012, he signed a permanent deal with the club worth five million pounds.
He had the opportunity to join Aston Villa or West Ham United during the window that closed on August 31, but the transfer fell through because of his financial demands.
The club’s top goal scorer last season with 14 in 25 appearances, Adebayor wanted the final year of his contract paid in full.
Last weekend, the 31-year-old forward was released from his contract with Tottenham by mutual agreement. He didn’t feature for the club this season and was left out of their Premier League and Europa League squads.
“We wish Emmanuel well for the future,” the club said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast soccer officials expect Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure will represent his country if he decides to continue playing international soccer.
Toure, who made history last January by becoming the first player to be crowned the Confederation of African Soccer (CAF) Player of the Year for a fourth straight time, asked to miss his country’s recent Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, suggesting the Ivory Coast captain may decide to focus on his club career.
“I hope he really thinks about this because the country really relies on his talent,” said coach Francois Zahoui. “He should continue because all the great players, whether it’s Pele, Maradona, Platini or Zidane, played for their countries until the end of their careers trying to win trophies. Yaya is still young and enormously talented, Of course, it’s up to him, but if I had advice for him, it would be to say do your maximum to bring as many trophies as you can to Ivory Coast because he has the talent to do that.”
The 32-year-old played a key role in helping his English club, Manchester City, win the 2013-14 Premier League and League Cup and his country capture this year’s Africa Cup of Nations title in Equatorial Guinea.
In other soccer news, retired South African striker Benni McCarthy has secured a coaching role with a Belgian club side.
He’s an assistant coach with Sint-Truidense, which plays in the Belgian Pro League.
“I hope I will make everyone happy by working hard and helping the team win games,” said 37-year-old McCarthy, who recorded 32 goals in 80 appearances for South Africa before retiring two years ago as his country’s all-time leading goal scorer.