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Fearing Ebola, Seychelles forfeits qualifier

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 31, 2014 at 3:04 pm •  Published: July 31, 2014

Seychelles forfeited an African Cup qualifying game and withdrew from the competition on Thursday rather than allow Sierra Leone's squad to travel to the Indian Ocean island because of fears over the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.

The Confederation of African Football confirmed Seychelles' withdrawal in a statement late Thursday without giving a reason, but Sierra Leone players and officials were earlier barred from boarding a plane in Nairobi, Kenya, that was due to take them to the Seychelles capital of Victoria for Saturday's qualifier.

Airport authorities in Kenya said they were instructed by Seychelles immigration to prevent the Sierra Leone party from traveling.

Over 700 people have died in West Africa from Ebola, with the worst recorded outbreak in history centered in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. One person has also died in Nigeria. The disease has no vaccine and a 60 percent fatality rate.

Sierra Leone already led the two-leg tie 2-0 after winning in Freetown two weeks ago, and progresses to the final group stage in qualifying for the African Cup next year in Morocco. CAF said it accepted Seychelles' withdrawal but would investigate the reasons behind it.

"The organizing committee of the Africa Cup of Nations will examine the case of the withdrawal of Seychelles, which came at a time that Sierra Leone had started the journey for the return leg," CAF said.

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