– SPOTLIGHT ON SHEYI EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR –
Standing 6 foot 3 inches, Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor is strikingly handsome. Born in Togo to Nigerian parents, the twenty-nine year striker has had a blazing soccer career landing him a lucrative contract with The English Premier League Tottenham Hotspur Football Club worth £170,000 per week. Though he also currently plays for the Togo national team, his career has taken him all over Europe playing for the French Association Football Club de Metz, the English Arsenal Football Club, Spain based Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, the France based Association Sportive de Monaco Football Club, and the English Manchester City Football Club. In 2008 he was voted African Footballer of the Year (the first time a Togolese won the award as Africa’s best player) and is currently Togo’s all-time top goal scorer with an impressive 27 goals. He’s also represented Togo in the World Cup as well as the Africa Cup of Nations.
But despite all his achievements Adebayor was ready to give up competing in Africa after gun-totting criminals held up the Togolese team bus in Angola. On its retelling the incident reads like a scene out of a Hollywood thriller but unfortunately there is no heroic happy ending. The life altering event took place in January 2010 while the team was en route from the Republic of Congo into Angola’s oil-rich territory of Cabinda to compete for the Africa Cup of Nations. Attackers, whom later claimed to be from the rebel group The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (Flec), machine-gunned the vehicle as soon as it crossed into Angola territory. The bus driver was killed and nine others wounded serving a demoralizing blow to the team and the country of Angola, host of the competition that year.
Adebayor survived! He did take a break from competing but the love of the sport brought him back to stadiums resuming his position as head of the Togolese team. He’s a survivor and testament that no one or no single incident should scare you into not living your dreams.