Manama: Bahrain and Togo have launched separate investigations into a football match last week in which Bahrain hosted a team which claimed to represent the West African republic of Togo.

The Gulf country won the friendly 3-0 on September 7, but Togo later said it never sent its national squad to Manama and did not know the players fielded for the match.

Christophe Tchao, Togo's sports minister, said he was shocked by the news.

"Nobody has been informed about the match," he was quoted as saying in Jeune Afrique, a pan-African magazine. "We will conduct an investigation to uncover all those implicated in this issue."

Mystery players

The Togo football team, known locally as Les Eperviers, or The Sparrow Hawks, on September 4 lost an African Cup of Nations elimination match in Gaborone, Botswana.

Some of the names fielded in the mysterious Togo team against Bahrain were Ali Oussani, the goalkeeper, Aboudou Adama and Tiekour Aba. Initial reports were that an agent sold the match to Bahrain who were preparing for the Asian championship to be held in Amman, Jordan, starting on September 24.

A Bahrain Football Association (BFA) official said their past dealings with the agent had been highly professional.

Professional agent

"This particular match was arranged through an agent whom we have been dealing with in the last few years. In the past, all our business with him were 100 per cent all right; he is a very professional agent who arranges games, training camps, referees, etc," the BFA official was quoted as saying by the Gulf Daily News.

"For this game with Togo, as per all the letters and paperwork we received, along with the players' passports, etc, they were all official documents from Togo's football federation.

However, the BFA spokesman said Togo may have fielded a reserve team, as their first squad may have played Botswana. "We cannot be sure about that, but it could explain the poor level of the players," he said.