Nigeria Football Federation, NFF president, Amaju Pinnick has heaved a sigh of relief over the postponement of the 2021 African Cup of Nations qualifiers by CAF due to the pandemic Coronavirus that has grounded sports activities worldwide.
The NFF has been grappling with how to handle the foreign-based Super Eagles players who were expected to arrive from Coronavirus ravaged Europe for the March 26 AFCON tie against Sierra Leone.
A number of players in Europe have tested positive to the virus and some of the affected clubs including Wilfred Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho’s Leicester City have sent their payers into quarantine.
“It is a welcome development, It is in line with the global trend; the health of the players, coaches, and fans is of utmost importance,” said Pinnick yesterday.
The postponement comes in the wake of the declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and following strict travel restrictions by some African countries to contain the spread of the virus.
“Coronavirus has been declared as a pandemic by WHO. In Africa, only few cases have been reported, but the situation could evolve negatively.
Several players, who are supposed to play the next AFCON qualifiers come from countries that have been severely affected by the virus (Europe, Asia),” the statement read.
“Several African governments have taken strong restrictions on travels; lockdown, quarantine for people coming from countries affected by the virus. Several clubs refuse now to release their players for the next international matches.