By any standard 13 June 2006 was a historic day for Togolese football. That was when Emmanuel Adebayor and Co played the country’s first FIFA World Cup™ game.
And although the Sparrowhawks failed to register a point at the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ after defeats to Korea Republic, Switzerland and France, the events of that summer are still fresh in the memory of present-day Togo striker Kodjo Laba.
The 28-year-old, who now plays for UAE club Al Ain, was a young teenager when Mohamed Kader Coubadja scored Togo’s only goal at that tournament in Germany. Now he hopes to follow in his footsteps and lead Togo to another World Cup appearance in two years’ time.
“The World Cup is not something every team gets to experience, so I thank God for giving my country a chance,” Laba told FIFA.com. “I was young at the time, but I went to all our home qualifying games. I used to walk to the stadium after school despite it being a long way away, and then I watched all our away games on TV.
“Although I was young, I still vividly remember our games at Germany 2006, particularly the one against South Korea in which Coubadja scored a splendid goal.
“I jumped for joy. It was an unforgettable match. And even in the game against France, our players made a huge effort despite the loss. We proved that we were a big team.”