Following Togo's withdrawal from the tournament, Ivory Coast will have to beat Ghana on Friday in Cabinda in its last group match to be guaranteed a spot in the quarter finals.
"The game against Ghana will be a crucial one," Ivory Coast defender Kolo Toure said. "But I'm confident we will work hard. Ghana is one of the best teams in Africa. We'll need to show character, we have the spirit and the team is well organised this will be a Do or Die."
Ghana was scheduled to play its first game later Monday against Togo, which withdrew after three members of its delegation died in a gun attack on the team bus on Friday.
The dangers were evident. Both the U.S. and British governments, among others, had cautioned that Angola's northern and oil-rich Cabinda province can be unsafe. Armed groups there who attacked expatriates in 2008 and 2009, raping, robbing and murdering, had vowed to do so again.
The tournament was meant to showcase the recovery from the civil war that raged for 27 years, killing at least 500,000 people and driving 4 million others from their homes.
But in Cabinda, whose oil helped finance the civil war, not everyone laid down guns. In turning their weapons against the Togolese team, the rebels there have brutally forced the world to take notice.
Togo didn’t qualify for the World Cup finals so the African Nations Cup was a special platform for them.