Emmanuel Adebayor has revealed he felt he had been in an episode of '24' after the Togo team coach came under fire ahead of the 2010 African Nations Cup, and that only the help of a psychologist exorcised the painful memories of the fatal attack.
Adebayor, 28, was part of the Togo squad making for the Angolan enclave of Cabinda for the start of the African tournament three years ago when they were fired upon by separatists, leaving two of the Togolese delegation dead.
"I was devastated, I saw everyone crying. It was like in a film. At the time, I was watching '24', and had the impression I was part of the plot. The attack on the bus, the broken windows, the tyres blown out, holes everywhere. There were at least 500 bullets fired," the Tottenham Hotspur forward, who saw close friend and team press attaché Stanislas Ocloo die in his arms, told L'Equipe. "For a very long time, when I was in my living room in Manchester, if something fell on the ground, I hid under the bed."
He added: "The club [Manchester City] got me a psychologist. He was really decisive. The more I spoke to him, the more it came out of me, and, after about a month, I was able to eat normally again."
After reports suggesting Adebayor would not take part in the on-going African Nations Cup in South Africa, the former Arsenal and Manchester City forward did join Didier Six's squad, and will take them into Wednesday's winner-takes-all Group D encounter with Tunisia. Should he contribute to helping his country into the quarter-finals, he will embellish his standing as a national hero, but hurt himself in the pocket.
"How many times have I doubled the bonuses? Even if it's €3000 per player, that's 23 times €3000. When I hear that I'm in a strop trying to get bonuses, I laugh. The bonuses, I pay them."
He did, however, add that the burden on him as his country's star player was lighter in South Africa after he had a heart-to-heart with Togo president, Faure Gnassingbe, in the run-up to the tournament.
"It's better, even if it's not perfect. It's the first time that I'm relaxed in the national team, that we have security guards. Before, I'd collect the balls, talk to the physios, sort out times of training sessions, the minister would come to see me. I was like a politician, even though that's not my job."