'Come home, I'm scared'

The wife a UAE-based Togolese footballer speaks of her terror after hearing machine-gun fire riddle the bus in which her husband was travelling.

The wife a UAE-based footballer has spoken of her terror of hearing machine-gun fire riddle the coach in which her husband was travelling as she spoke to him on the telephone. Yao Junior Senaya was crossing the Republic of Congo border into Angola with the Togo national team on their way to compete in the African Cup of Nations when they were attacked in the oil-rich province of Cabinda by separatist militants on Friday. The assault left three people dead and injured seven others.

Matilda Senaya said her husband, a 25-year-old midfielder with UAE second division side Dibbe al Hisn, called her from the bus while the sustained attack was under way. "He had slipped down on to the floor of the bus and called to tell me what was going on," she said. "He told me he was being attacked in Angola and that he was hiding on the ground. I could hear the gunshots in the background so I told him he should hang up and call back when it was safe."

Mrs Senaya waited anxiously for 10 minutes before he called back. "He told me he was fine, perfectly fine," she said. "He said his friend - the second goalkeeper - hadn't managed to get on the floor quick enough and had been shot twice in the back. "When I spoke to my husband again [on Saturday], he said the team did not want to play. I told him to come home because I was scared for his life. He went there to play football; this should not be happening."

Mrs Senaya said she expected her husband, who has 19 caps for Togo and represented his country at the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany, to return to the Emirates tomorrow after team captain Emmanuel Adebayor insisted last night that his side would not be competing at this month's tournament. @Email:gmeenaghan@thenational.ae