Despite Ebola fears, games ordered to go ahead

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 28, 2014 at 10:47 am •  Published: August 28, 2014
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DOUALA, Cameroon (AP) — 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.

"We have done what we ought to do," Cameroon football federation President Joseph Owona said of the country's request for the game to be relocated.

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