Ebola outbreak affects African Soccer

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By Sports Reporter

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Due to the concern over the spread of Ebola virus in some of the African countries, Africa soccer continues to be affected.

The Seychelles was due to host Sierra Leona in a qualifying game, but the tiny island nation’s ministries of health and immigration prevented the visiting players from entering the country.

Sierra Leone players were reportedly prevented from boarding a plane at that would take them to Seychelles.

Though disqualified, there were plans to shift the game between Rwanda and Nigeria the Nigeria’s Super Eagles in the 2015 group qualifier match in Nigeria’s city of Calabar.

According to information from the local football body Ferwafa, the ministry of health had warned Amavubi to consider the idea of shifting the game from Calabar city in case the Confederation of African Football-CAF rein-instated them for the qualifiers for the 2015 Afcon Morocco games.

At least 525 cased of Ebola have been reported in Sierra Leone since March, 224 of which have been fatal. The  UN health agency has published 1,522 people have died from the killer virus from among 3,069 cases.

The International Olympic Committee issued a statement recently saying “We have been reassured by the health authorities that there have been no suspected cases in the Youth Olympic Games held in Nanjing, China and that the risk of infection is extremely unlikely.”

Sierra Leon’s National Olympic Committee was asked not to travel to China, but the IOC later said, all delegation was welcome, although athletes from affected region were subject to regular temperature and physical assessments.

In Douala, Cameroon, despite a deadly Ebola outbreak in a fifth country, the Confederation of African Football said Thursday that qualifiers for the continent’s top tournament will go ahead as planned next month, sweeping aside protests from a number of fearful teams.

CAF’s decision that there would be no more venue changes forces the Cameroon and Republic of Congo squads to travel to countries where people have died from the virus, and compels Ivory Coast — with big names like Manchester City’s Yaya Toure — to host players and officials from Ebola-affected Sierra Leone.

“As earlier announced, CAF will reassess the situation in mid-September,” the African confederation said in a statement, but maintained there would be “no amendments” to the schedule for African Cup qualifying games in the first two weeks of next month.

CAF had already been forced to move early qualifiers out of Sierra Leone and Guinea, two of the worst-affected countries in a West African outbreak where more than 1,500 people have now died.

But Nigeria — where six people have died — will still host Republic of Congo in the southern city of Calabar on Sept. 6, CAF ruled. CAF also insisted that Cameroon travel to the central African country of Congo, where 13 people have died in a new outbreak that’s not related to the West African crisis, experts say.

Cameroon and Republic of Congo both expressed fears over traveling and asked CAF to move the games to neutral countries.

If governments overrule football bodies and ultimately prevent players from traveling to or arriving from Ebola-hit countries despite CAF’s orders, some of Africa’s top teams may be forced to back out of the African Cup of Nations.

The World Health Organization on Thursday warned that Ebola cases could exceed 20,000 in the West African outbreak in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria.

Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever, affecting multiple organs and accompanied by bleeding. There is no known cure or specific treatments.

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