Now regular readers will know one of my major bug-bears is the people who run this great sport of ours. From UEFA’s climbdown on diving (and an acknowledgment that cheaters DO prosper) to FIFA’s absolute refusal to move into the 21st Century and embrace goal-line technology, the game’s governing bodies seem to make mistakes left, right and centre.

However, nothing compares to the latest move by the Confederation of African Football (CAF). These geniuses have decided that the decision of Togo’s Football Association, backed by their government,  to withdraw the squad from this year’s African Cup of Nations was unacceptable. This is despite the team being attacked by rebels with machine guns on the way to the tournament. The attack left two team officials dead, as well as wounding goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale, yet CAF have announced that Togo will be banned from the next two African Nations competitions. They will also have to pay a fine of $50,000.

This decision, coming the day before the final of the competition, is quite simply staggering, not to mention callous in the extreme. The football community as a whole perfectly understood the decision taken by Togo to pull out, and anybody who saw the pictures of Emmanuel Adebayor in the aftermath of the attack would vociferously defend the actions of the Togolese. Indeed, I’d expect many of the squad to end up in a psychiatrist’s office in the not-too-distant future.

For those unaware of African history, conflict in Angola is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, the Angolan Civil War only finished in 2002, 27 years after it began. Perhaps the question of why CAF chose Angola to hold it’s largest tournament should be raised by FIFA. It seems churlish then to criticise Togo after they were attacked in a country that is almost synonymous with war.

Perhaps naïvely, I hold out faith that FIFA will overturn this decision from CAF. The African body have argued that they simply had to ban Togo, as their regulations stipulate that no country can pull out just before the competition in order to uphold the Cup’s integrity. Be that as it may, it must also understand the special circumstances behind Togo’s decision. And if it does not, it must be made to do so by Blatter and Co.

Indeed, with this being the year of the first ever African World Cup, it may even be worth the rest of the game’s governing bodies using their power to force CAF to back down. Imagine Platini’s UEFA refusing to allow the European qualifiers to travel to South Africa and fill CAF’s coffers. This would almost certainly see CAF’s decision overturned.

However, if Togo’s ban is allowed to stand, a possible solution is an invite to the Copa America, who normally invite Japan. This would allow Togo to take part in competitive football, and be a massive source of embarrassment to CAF at the same time. Hopefully, it won’t come to that.

Sepp Blatter always stated his ambition was to hold a World Cup in Africa. Before that, he should ensure the idiots who came up with this ban are sacked, and replaced by people with a degree of compassion.

This one promises to run and run, and I’ll be following it with a great deal of interest.

I really didn’t want to write this piece. I’d hoped the African Cup of Nations would be a glorious prelude to the biggest show of all, Africa’s first ever World Cup in June. I had hoped to see some brilliant attacking football, the sort of stuff exemplified by the Cameroon’s, Nigeria’s and Senegal’s of World Cups gone by. Instead, before the tournament even starts the Togo side were attacked on the way to the tournament.

Whilst this is a horrendous act of terrorism, and my thoughts go out to the team and their families, I can’t but help look at the bigger picture. Now I know, Angola and South Africa aren’t neighbours (although Angola shares a border with Botswana and Namibia, as does South Africa) the fact this is the continent’s first World Cup surely means we should be concerned by this lack of security.

Now my good friend Ross wrote a piece on the perils of Africa back in November, and this latest attack is just another tragedy in a long line of horrific events on the continent. However, if FIFA and CAF can’t keep the players safe, what chance do they have of ensuring the security of millions fans in June?

Now I’m expecting a few of you to think I’m scaremongering, and that FIFA will learn from this. Maybe I am, but I am genuinely concerned about the tournament itself. And I think the blame lies squarely at Sepp Blatter’s door.

The World Cup can bring so much to a nation. Much needed income is thrust into the economy, which can only benefit South Africa and hopefully the continent as a whole. However, I think the question needs to be asked is ‘has this World Cup been awarded too soon?’

Sepp Blatter has said throughout his reign as FIFA chief that he wanted to take the World Cup to Africa. It became his dream, his over-riding goal. And I admire that, I really do. However, it is of no coincidence that his reign is due to finish soon, and if he had not been influential in South Africa gaining this competition, he will have failed in his goal.

I must pose this question to you all though; is failure in that goal really as bad as the death of the Togolese last Friday?

I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.