• Thursday, February 29, 2024
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AFCON qualifier: Eagles dare Ebola to face Congo DR

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Ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Congo DR in Calabar on Saturday September 6, there are fears that Nigerians may not actually be the only ones to be scared of the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the country.

Following the reported cases of Ebola deaths in Nigeria, the Rwanda Football Federation opted to stop its national team from honouring the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against the Super Eagles next month prompting CAF to name Congo DR their place.  

Congo DR also wished that CAF shifted the venue for their game against African champions, Nigeria, but CAF had since given Calabar the nod to host the game.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) according to a report on www.thecable.ng says, about 70 out of 592 people that contracted hemorrhagic gastroenteritis, an ailment which has similar symptoms with the Ebola Virus Disease, have died in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Michel Wangi, spokesman for DRC’s government, said the origin of the ailment, which has been spreading rapidly across Boende, a town in Equateur province of the country, was unknown.

Coincidentally, the Ebola River where the first case of the highly contagious virus was recorded in 1976 is situated in the same province.

The African soccer ruling body explained that Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia remained the only countries required to relocate their fixtures to neutral territories as a result of the Ebola outbreak as stated in a circular to member countries.

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Initially, there were fears that Stephen Keshi, interim coach of the Super Eagles, may end up prosecuting this weekend’s Afcon qualifier against Congo DR in Calabar with wholly home-based players, but the Eagles camp came to live on Tuesday evening when Chelsea midfielder arrived at the Metropolitan Hotel camp of the Super Eagles.

Obi increased the total number of players to 17 with the likes of Ogenyi Onazi, Kenneth Omeruo and Sone Aluko in camp.

Also in camp are goalkeeper Austin Ejide, full back Juwon Oshaniwa as well as attacking midfielder Ahmed Musa who got a brace in CSKA 6-0 win in the Russian Premier League.

Nigeria will take on the Diables Rouges of Congo at the U.J Esuene Stadium at 4pm on Saturday before travelling to South Africa for their game against the Bafana Bafana in Cape Town.

ANTHONY NLEBEM