The World Cup is ominously close! So that you aren't caught offside (they have that in soccer, right?), we're previewing all the participants, bringing you Four Things You Don't Know About Them. If you have a tidbit, send it along to tips@Deadspin.com. Today: Togo! And for World Cup previews that are even better than ours, check out That's On Point.
• 1. Much Adu About Age. In May 2001, Souleymane Mamam became the youngest player ever to play a World Cup qualifier when he played for Togo against Zambia at the age of 13 years, 310 days. That is, if you believe those who claim June 20, 1987 as his birthday. Some Web sites list it as 1985, which would have made him nearly 16. Currently, Mamam plays on loan from Manchester United for the Belgian second division club Royal Antwerp FC.
• 2. Togo Is On The Air!. If you are an SCTV fan, you know Togo is mentioned in the opening credits of the venerable ex-TV comedy series (as people around the world toss out their TVs). News of Togo is always conveyed in the SCTV News with Earl Camembert (Eugene Levy) and "Count" Floyd Robertson (Joe Flaherty). "It is the first thing I think of when I hear Togo." — (thanks to Greg Kelly).
• 3. Meet Togo's Biggest Star. Emmanuel Sheyi Adebayor may have the physique of a basketball player, but he is Togo's leading scorer; with 11 goals to finish as the top scorer in the African Zone. None were more important than those scored in the home and away qualifiers against Senegal that effectively won the Togolese first place.
• 4. Fun With Mr. Atlas. OK, raise your hand if you thought Togo was a tropical island. Come on ... yeah, we thought so. Actually it is a small nation (smaller even than West Virginia) on the west coast of Africa; possibly the world's skinniest country. Their national soccer team, nicknamed Les Eperviers (The Sparrow Hawks), will be making their first-ever appearance in the World Cup finals.
(Tomorrow: Czech Republic)