Abuja – The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has ordered Sierra Leone and Guinea to relocate their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers because of the Ebola virus outbreak in their countries.
CAF also wrote to its other member-associations to inform them of its decision to ask the two countries to relocate their home games in the AFCON qualifiers.
It said in the letter that the move was “a preventative measure to avoid mass gatherings that could facilitate the spread of the virus’’.
The continental football governing body also said the measure would remain in place until mid-September.
It means at least the first two rounds of matches, scheduled for between Sept. 5 and Sept. 6, and 10 September, will be affected.
The World Health Organisation has till date reported 1,848 cases of Ebola.
These cases have resulted in 1,013 deaths, mainly in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
Sierra Leone had already said it was not hosting matches until further notice, and it had asked Ghana if it can host its Group D matches there.
Following CAF’s directive, Guinea will now need to find a new venue for their Group E tie against Togo.
Togo had a few days ago said it was hoping the match in Guinea would be moved to another venue.
Meanwhile, CAF has also moved to allay fears surrounding the two countries’ away fixtures.
“Each federation whose country is affected by the virus must ensure their delegations travelling abroad can be examined before departure.
“Each national association receiving delegations must communicate the necessary information delivered by health authorities to ensure the reception of teams… and if necessary to provide additional checks at arrival points,’’ it said.
Sierra Leone is due to play Ivory Coast, DR Congo and Cameroon in the last round of qualifying.
The qualifying competition runs from early September to mid-November.
Guinea’s group also includes Ghana and Uganda.
The qualifying competition will decide the 15 teams to join hosts Morocco at the African Nations Cup finals next January and February.(NAN)