AFCON 2017: Le Roy Hoping To Lead Togo To Finals
Newly appointed coach of Togo Claude Le Roy says qualification for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations is not a must, but he will do everything in his power to try and guide the Sparrow Hawks to next year’s finals in Gabon.
The veteran French coach, who took over the country’s national team in April, will have his first competitive match in charge of Togo this weekend when they face Group A leaders Liberia in Monrovia for their penultimate 2017 AFCON qualifier.
Togo are placed third in the group, level on seven points with second-placed Tunisia and two adrift of the Lone Stars. Wins in their remaining matches against Liberia and Djibouti would in all likelihood secure qualification.
“When I signed my contract, I was not told that qualification for the finals in Gabon was a must, so our main objective is to qualify for the AFCON finals in Cameroon in 2019,” he told FIFA.com.
“However, we will, of course, do everything to go to Gabon next year. If we win in Monrovia and then in Lome against Djibouti in early September, qualifying is quite possible.
“The group is very tight, with three teams still in contention, but everything will depend on our result in Liberia.
“With 13 points, we could qualify either directly or take one of the two runners-up positions.”
Le Roy explained that he had no hesitation in taking the Togo job and succeeding Tom Saintfiet in the hot seat, adding that he has belief in the country’s ability to once again be a powerful force on the continent.
“I felt they wanted me," Le Roy explained. "I accepted because Togo is not a small country in African football.
“The country has participated in several Africa Cup of Nations finals and the World Cup in 2006.
“And there are very good players like [Alaixys] Romao, [Emmanuel] Adebayor, [Kossi] Agassa, the Ayite brothers [Jonathan and Floyd], [Serge] Gakpe and [Serge] Akakpo. So the potential is there.”