CAF ORDERS GUINEA, SIERRA LEONE TO PLAY IN ARTIFICIAL HOMES DUE TO THE EBOLA OUTBREAK

By Abubakarr Kamara

 

The Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) has ordered Sierra Leone and Guinea to play their home matches outside their respective countries due to the public health emergency in both countries.

In a statement signed by CAF Secretary General, Hicham El Amrani and sent to the 54 affiliated National Associations, on Tuesday 12 August 2014, CAF announced that it will maintain its schedule of matches on the entire continent, except for three countries: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, which have recorded a great number of Ebola cases adding that CAF has decided to ask the three Federations to relocate to a neutral country the matches of their teams participating in CAF competitions, for a period up to mid-September 2014.

“This circular provides the answer to the questions many people have been asking concerning the organisation’s stance on the spread of Ebola virus in some West African countries. The underlying consequence of this decision is the fact that the group phase matches; Guinea vs Togo on 5 September 2014, and Sierra-Leone vs. DR Congo on 10 September 2014, will be played on neutral grounds,” the statement reads.

The Sierra Leone Football Federation has already taken steps with its Ghanaian counterpart to host their game against Congo DR in the Ghanaian capital, Accra and the Ghanaian FA has consented in principle subject to their government’s approval.

However, a statement from the Ghanaian Communications minister, Dr. Edward Omane Boama indicated that the Ghanaian government has cancelled all international conferences scheduled to be hosted in Ghana between now and the next three months
“Also, the President has advised that consistent with the decision of the ECOWAS Commission that all meetings and missions be suspended unless absolutely essential and well-guided, a three (3) month moratorium be placed on all international conferences and international gatherings which have the potential of spreading the Ebola Virus,” Dr. Edward Omane Boama said.

Despite the announcement by the Ghana Communications Minister, Dr. Edward Omane-Boamah on Thursday evening, Sierra Leone stands the chance to host the match against Congo DR in Accra as all 20 called up players are foreign based.

“We’ve done our best to convince the Ghanaian FA and they have shown willingness. It is left with the government of Sierra Leone to engage their Ghanaian counterparts. We are aware of the fact that the Ghanaian government has cancelled all international conferences scheduled to be hosted in Ghana between now and the next three months but we are optimistic they will let us in if we take the necessary precautions which we have communicated to the Sports Ministry and the Health Ministry,” said Abubakarr Kamara - Head of Media and Marketing at the SLFA.

Meanwhile, CAF, which is following the situation with much concern and peculiar attention took its decision based on “advice from several medical experts on the potential impact of the spread of the Ebola virus in relation to the organisation of matches and CAF competitions” adding that a formal notice has also been received from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in that regard.
The WHO has called for “an avoidance of huge gatherings that could facilitate the spread of the Ebola virus.”And also, the CAF circular gives a didactic perspective and recommends the website of WHO (http://who.int/ith/updates/20140421/fr/), and urges CAF member associations to use their respective agencies to sensitize on the virus and thus contribute to uplift minds and promote good practices.

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