CAIRO: The African Cup of Nations has become the major sports tournament on the continent to be disrupted by the ebola vorus outbreak in western Africa.
The African football confederation has ordered Guinea and Sierra Leone to switch their Nations Cup qualifiers to neutral territory but it is appears increasingly unlikely that they will be able to find countries willing to accept the risk.
The Liberian government has already suspended all football activity while seeking international support for health care services which, it says, risk being overwhelmed by the crisis.
The World Health Organization has declared an international health emergency as it predicts the epidemic will continue for months.
Elsewhere in Africa Nigeria and Sierra Leone have withdrawn from the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing because of the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
CAF said: “CAF has asked the three federations to relocate to a neutral country matches their teams are hosting in CAF competitions for a period up to mid-September.”
Sierra Leone has asked Ghana to host their Group D home game against DR Congo is scheduled for September 10.
However the Ghana FA indicated a likely refusal when it said: “While the GFA is keen on helping out our brothers from Sierra Leone, we are uncertain about the health implications for our country.
“Therefore the GFA has asked the SLFA (Sierra Leone FA) to ask their government to make a formal request to the government of Ghana for consideration by the Ministry of Health.
“It is based on this report from Ghana’s Ministry of Health that a decision will be taken.”
Earlier this month, Sierra Leone had a walkover in their playoff tie when the Seychelles refused the squad entry into the country because of fears of spreading the virus.
The Seychelles forfeited the tie, enabling Sierra Leone to qualify for the group stage of the preliminaries ahead of next January’s finals in Morocco.
Guinea are due to host Togo in a Group E game on September 5 but the Togolese will probably be barred from playing by their own government.