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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 11:43 GMT 12:43 UK
Togo's fans angry at visa denial
By Ebow Godwin
BBC News, Lome

Mama Togo, the leader of the official World Cup football supporters in Togo
Mama Togo sells iced water and cannot provide bank statements
Togo's official World Cup supporters have been denied visas to go and cheer on their national team in Germany.

The Togolese government has donated $500,000 for the 100 football fans to travel to the tournament.

But the German Embassy refused the visas because they did not provide bank statements with their applications.

The fans' leader known as "Mama Togo" led angry protests outside the embassy, saying most of them were self-employed and did not have bank accounts.

"Most of us are not official workers. In my case I sell iced water to earn my living. So how can I provide bank statements? " she said on Thursday.

The fans chanted slogans accusing the German embassy in Togo's capital, Lome, of deliberately refusing to grant them the visas.

Last week, Togo's chief voodoo priest predicted success for the national team, the Sparrowhawks, who have qualified for World Cup for the first time.

Togbui Assiogbo Gnagblondjro III said Togo would definitely beat South Korea and France to get to the next round.

But unless conditions for visas are relaxed, the fans have little prospect of cheering on the Sparrowhawks themselves.




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