Les Eperviers (The Sparrow Hawks)
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Togo will be eyeing the knock-out phase at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations as the Hawks have failed in six previous attempts to advance from the group stage.

The West Africans have a real chance of achieving that dream thanks to the presence of some young players as well as experienced performers at the highest level.

French coach Didier Six will be counting on the talent and experience of captain Emmanuel Adebayor who almost single-handedly steered his country to qualify for the tournament after returning from a self-imposed international exile.

Adebayor retired from the national team in 2010 after the Hawks’ team bus was attacked by gunmen as they travelled to the tournament in Angola – killing three and injuring several others.

In his absence young players like Razak Boukhari of English side Wolves, France-based Prince Kossi Segbefia and Sadat Ouro-Akoriko have stepped up to the plate and delivered, which sparks hope that the combination of the two generations could steer Togo to the latter stages of the competition.

The Hawks achieved their highest feat in football by qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in their history in 2006, during which period the team achieved its highest FIFA ranking of 46.

This was after a golden generation of players led by striker Adebayor worked their socks off to qualify for the World Cup hosted by Germany.

They, however, never made it past the first round as a series of misunderstandings over player bonuses scuppered their campaign.

The Hawks will be making their first appearance at the Africa Cup of Nations since the tragic incident that hit the team before the start of the 2010 finals in Angola.

Togo withdrew from the tournament after their players said they could not carry on represent their country.

They were subsequently banned from the following two tournaments by the Confederation of African Football but later handed a reprieve.