Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon Pair Are Thrust into World's Most Hostile Game; Team-Mates Tiote and Cisse Face Each Other in a Volatile Qualifier Which Needs 1,500 Extra Security Staff

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Toon Pair Are Thrust into World's Most Hostile Game; Team-Mates Tiote and Cisse Face Each Other in a Volatile Qualifier Which Needs 1,500 Extra Security Staff

Article excerpt

Byline: Neil Cameron Sports Writer neil.cameron@trinitymirror.com

CHEICK TIOTE and his Ivory Coast team-mate Arthur Boka had to be pulled apart this week during a rather feisty training session.

The clash happened on Tuesday , according to eye witnesses, Boka of Stuttgart reacted angrily after one late tackle too many from the Newcastle United midfielder, and other players had to quickly step into defuse the situation.

Tempers boiled over to the extent that head coach Sabri Lamouchi brought the session to an end to allow everyone to calm down.

It is the sincere hope this incident is the limit of any violence African football will endure this weekend in the Ivorian capital city of Abidjan.

Senegal and Papiss Cisse are in town to take on Tiote's side in the first leg of a World Cup qualifier that has more riding on it than merely what happens on the park and getting to Brazil next summer.

Fifa has classed the match in their highest risk category. There is no game anywhere else in the world this weekend with more potential for violence.

Alan Pardew is going to watch it on television tomorrow night, probably from behind the couch given that two of his lads are involved in such a potentially dangerous environment.

Last year, almost to the day, an African Cup of Nations quali-fier in Senegal's capital Dakur ended in a riot.

With the Ivory Coast leading 2-0 on the night and 6-2 on aggregate, the Senegal fans took either to throwing rocks at players or the few hundred Ivorian fans inside the stadium. They also entered the field of play and lit fires on the terraces.

The game was eventually abandoned.

According to the Ivory Coast Football Federation, 1,700 security operatives, about 1,500 more than usual, including police and members of the army, have been recruited for this West African derby, with 18 checkpoints and several observation posts installed in and outside the Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium, where the sold-out game will take place.

Armed police will escort both the Senegal squad and their few travelling supporters to the game, the fear being that the home support will seek revenge for last October. Several away fans were taken to hospital after being attacked that night.

There will be no other football match played over the next few days with as big a police presence.

Cisse will be quite happy to get out of the country with a half-decent result and even a kick from Tiote, given how much hostility has built up between the two nations.

Tiote's side are heavy favourites to get through. The mid-fielder certainly feels confident in himself and his country's most famous footballing son, who has found some form this season.

The United star said: "Things are going very well. I'm in great shape. I think I'll have a good season with Newcastle. …

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