This summer I was shocked by the newsstory coming out of North Korea that the nation’s soccer federation had hired Chinese actors to portray Korea DPR fans and the acting troupe was paid to travel to South Africa and support the underdog soccer country at the World Cup as if the side was their own. But now it appears that even that wacky story has been outdone by yet another national team or at least their impostors.
Let’s face it. We live during a time in which impostors have become a common place part of pop culture. For example their is the infamous Washington D.C. couple that snuck into a White House dinner and even shook hands with President Obama last holiday season. Then their was the balloon boy parents that pulled off that crazy breaking news worthy hi-jinx last spring. But now the Togo national team has topped the entire list of well known impostors.
Well, if you can call them the Togo national team…
Christophe Tchao, the actual Togo nation’s sports minister, recently announced that the squad that lost 3-0 to Bahrain a week back was in no way directly affiliated with the country and the sports official, who admitted that the federation had never heard of any of the player’s that played on the nation’s behalf, even went as far as to suggest that the match was illegally setup by a “mafia group” that profited off of the illegal trip.
Tchao made the following statement to the AP regarding the strange scenario:
This rule was not complied with by the group of unidentified players and their shadowy handlers. It is obvious that the players belonged to a mafia group who aided and abetted them to leave Togo without authorization.
And obviously for a FIFA soccer match to be considered official it must be properly acknowledged and sanctioned by all three parties involved, being the two competing sides and also the FIFA officials as well. Tchao suggested that the match was setup by a fake agent portraying a Togo soccer federation official and a fake team of amateur footballers.
And just a month back Tchanile Bana, a member of the national team’s technical staff, was suspended for two years from the federation due to taking members of the side to a friendly match in Egypt without the federation’s consent. It is now being reported that Bana was one of the five men that pretended to be a Togo soccer federation official for the fake side last week.
There is no word yet on any punishment the impostors will receive for their actions, but one thing I can guarantee you is that the penalty received will in fact be a real one for the alleged false national team and their fake officials.