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Kanoute says pitch attack worst experience

16 October 2007 19:41

PARIS (AFP) - The Mali international and Seville striker Frederic Kanoute said Tuesday that the recent pitch attack by angry Togo supporters armed with knives was the "worst moment of my life."

Kanoute had stitches in his back after being struck with a belt while teammate Mahamadou Sidibe, who plays for English club Stoke, had surgery for a knife wound to his arm.

The Togo supporters invaded the pitch at the Kegue Stadium in the Togan capital of Lome after their side lost 2-0 last Friday in qualifying match for next year's African Nations Cup tournament in Ghana.

"Frankly it was the worst moment of my life," said Kanoute. "I have never known this type of problem on a football field.

"After the match I was sad more than anything else. I couldn't enjoy the victory. It was really really bad."

Kanoute called for the world football governing body, FIFA, to take action over the incident while the Confederation of African Football (CAF) have opened an inquiry.

"We're following the situation closely and awaiting the match report," a CAF official told AFP on Monday.

"The question will be discussed during the scheduled meeting of the organising committee of the African Nations Cup on October 18 at Accra."

Sidibe is now back at Stoke and is receiving treatment, although the severity of his injuries remain unclear.

"Although we do not yet have full information on what took place in Togo, everyone will agree that no-one wants to see this type of thing happening," said team chief executive Tony Scholes.

"Obviously our concerns are with Mama and the hope that the injury is not too serious. Our responsibility however is to protect our club and its players, and we will be making representations to the appropriate authorities."

The African section of the professional players association Fifpro said the incident may make Africans playing in Europe think twice before playing for their national teams and their European clubs less likely to release them.

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