Togo’s unlucky soccer players

Togo's soccer team has been plagued by tragedies in recent years. In this photo Togolese player Oussani Labo (R) vies with Gabonese Roguy Meye during their friendly football match for the Corsica cup on May 19, 2010, in Corsica.

When a bus carrying soccer players from one of the West African state of Togo’s top teams blew a tire and crashed off a precipice bursting into flames and killing at least six of the team staff, it was a tragedy for the team, the families and the nation.

But this weekend’s accident was not the first to befall Togo’s soccer players who look increasingly like the unluckiest in the world.

In 2010, on the way to a match in the Africa Cup on Nations tournament being held in Angola, the Togo team bus was ambushed by separatist gunmen. Nine squad members were wounded, including two players, and the team pulled out of the competition.

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And in 2007, members of the Togo Football Federation were killed in a bizarre and awful accident when a helicopter carrying them from Freetown in Sierra Leone to the national airport, a seven minute flight away across the bay, burst into flames and exploded as it came into land.

At least 19 people died, including the country’s Sports Minister and several other members of the ministry and the football federation. Togo’s players, who had waited for the next flight, were unharmed.