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By ESPN Staff

Jordaan offers sympathy to ''disqualified'' Togo

Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of South Africa's World Cup organising committee, will make his observations known to the Confederation of African Football about the circumstances surrounding Togo's disqualification from the African Nations Cup.

Confusion surrounded Togo's status in the competition right up to kick-off in their scheduled match against Ghana on Monday even though the team had already returned to the west African state the previous day following the terrorist attack on their team bus in Cabinda on Friday which left three people dead and two members of the playing squad injured.

An announcement was made by CAF on Monday that Togo had been 'disqualified' from the tournament and Jordaan, who sits on the African Nations Cup committee, sympathised with the Togo team's decision to pull out.

Asked whether CAF's description of their exit as a disqualification was insensitive, Jordaan said: ''I prefer to make my observations and my own assessments on what has happened and deal directly with CAF, which I'll do.

''Any football tournament is about celebrating life, it is about seeing the best ability of the best footballers and that is what Togo wanted to show. Togo have not qualified for the World Cup finals so the African Nations Cup was a special platform for them.

''In these tragic circumstances one can understand if the team says from a mental or psychological point of view that it is difficult to continue. My sympathy would be with the team. One hopes that these matters will be understood in that context.''

Jordaan reiterated his position that the attack in Angola had no bearing on South Africa's own plans to host the World Cup this summer and pointed to the country's successful record of hosting sporting events since 1994.

''We started back in 1994 when we first made a bid for the 2006 World Cup and since then we have hosted 147 major events,'' he said. ''Last year alone we hosted the Confederations Cup, the British and Irish Lions tour, we had Manchester City (for pre-season friendlies), we had the Tri-Nations, we had Super 14 matches and a host of other events which ended with the World Cup finals draw in Cape Town (last month).

''We have looked at every area of security - route security, hotels, training venues, base camps, fan parks and stadium security and that is part of a comprehensive security plan which has been tested over all of those events.''

Jordaan also revealed the South African military will be involved in the counter-terrorism strategy in an integrated command and control centre.

He did, though, accept that no country in the world could make a 100% guarantee that an act of terrorism could take place on their soil.

Jordaan added: ''Terrorism is a global threat and South Africa has taken note of that. But since 1994 we have measures in place to tackle all the potential threats including terrorism. That is something we have to remain permanently vigilant about and we have upgraded our systems and our management of security.''


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