Adebayor labels Zimbabwe and Zambia "smaller countries"

LUANDA – The cocky, big-mouth Togolese and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor has labelled Zimbabwe and Zambia "small countries" in football terms.

Emmanuel Adebayor is looking for a helping hand going into the African Nations Cup, which starts on Sunday in Angola.

Togo’s hopes of reaching the second stage of the tournament for the first time rest firmly on the shoulders of the Manchester City striker.

Togo face Ghana, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast – who are considered among the favourites for the competition.

Adebayor, who moved to Eastlands in the summer from Arsenal, said: "I would like to have some players besides me to make a difference.

"It was really difficult at the beginning of my career but I’ve been doing it for three or four years now so I am used to it.

"God put me where I am today and I’ve just got to be pleased with that. I will keep on enjoying myself on the pitch and keep helping my country to be as good as possible.”

Adebayor is looking forward to going face to face with his City team-mate, Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure, who also left Arsenal in the close season.

He said: "I have known Kolo for three-and-a-half-years now. He’s a very good professional, he has a presence in every single game and even in training.

"I know how he is and that whenever he is playing against a friend he is always trying to win. Then will have a little laugh after the game.

"So I know it’s going to be tough for me and as a professional I just have to keep focused. It will be a fun game and hopefully one we will win.”

It is a tough group for Togo but Adebayor hopes they raise their game.

He said: "I am very happy because I know my team-mates like the big games. Whenever we play against smaller countries like Zimbabwe or Zambia, it’s always tough for us.

"But when we have a chance to play against Cameroon, Ivory Coast or Senegal, we always enjoy ourselves. The motivation is there.

"We do quite well and in the big games we are always there. That’s why I was very pleased when the draw was made.”