Emmanuel Adebayor says he is not worried about making an impression at the African Cup of Nations. He just wants to score goals.
The Togo captain has shrugged off criticism that he has yet to dazzle at the event, saying that his focus is not to show off his skills but to help his team to advance. And so far, it's going to plan.
The Tottenham striker scored his first goal of the tournament in a 2-0 win over Algeria on Saturday, a result that left Togo needing just a draw against Tunisia in their final Group D match on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals for the first time.
"The most important thing is not to see the great Adebayor, but to see a goal-scoring Adebayor," he said. "My mission is to score goals. If people think that they haven't seen the great Adebayor, so be it. I haven't come here for fame and glory. I came here to win matches."
Adebayor was Togo's biggest threat in the opener against Ivory Coast but missed a few key opportunities to score and help avoid his team's 2-1 loss. One of his unlikely misses came less than three minutes into the match, when he failed to score from close range despite having only the goalkeeper to beat.
He wasn't superb against in the second match at Royal Bafokeng Stadium, but found the net after a breakaway in the 32nd minute, sending a low shot underneath the charging Algerian goalkeeper. A late goal by teammate Dove Wome sealed a crucial victory.
"I'm delighted to have scored my first goal (in the African Cup)," he said. "The first goal is always important and I hope that there will be many more to come."
Adebayor, who was struggling with Tottenham before joining up with Togo, has also shown his leadership off the field, using his status as a top international player to bring attention to the problems involving his national team.
Adebayor was fighting for his teammates' rights even before the African Cup started. He threatened not to play at the tournament because of security concerns and disagreements with Togo's federation over bonus payments for players.
"Someone had to take action and, as the captain, I did it," the striker said. "If the government, the people and everyone else are willing to roll up their sleeves and believe in Togo, we can achieve great things together."
Togolese football has been marred by distractions in recent years. The team had to withdraw from the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola after two team officials and a driver were killed, and one player was seriously injured, when gunmen ambushed their bus. Togo did not qualify for last year's event in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
Togo failed to advance past the group stage the previous seven times it played the African Cup.
The fact that it's now one match away from making it happen this time, is thanks in great part to Adebayor.
"I'm here to help Togo win, nothing more," he said. "If you want to see me having fun, then you meet me in May during my holidays. Now I'm all about business."