FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone canceled all football matches indefinitely on Tuesday because of the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.
The national football association said it will seek permission to play upcoming African Cup qualifiers in other countries and would apply also for health certificates so its home-based players can travel.
The Sierra Leone Football Association announced the move to stop all games after an emergency meeting. It followed a public health emergency declared last week by the country's president banning public gatherings until further notice.
The SLFA will ask the Confederation of African Football for permission to play African Cup qualifiers starting in September in neutral countries, spokesman Abu Bakarr Kamara told The Associated Press.
Ebola has spread rapidly in the West African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, killing nearly 900 people. Cases have also been reported in Nigeria.
Sierra Leone's national team is due to play in the final round of qualifying for next year's Cup of Nations from Sept. 5. It is scheduled to play its first home game in the qualifiers against Congo on Sept. 10.
Ivory Coast, with Premier League stars like Didier Drogba and Yaya Toure, and Cameroon, with Samuel Eto'o, are also due to play against Sierra Leone.
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