18 March 2019

Liberia: Afcon 2019 - Liberia Wants Match Venue Changed Over Ebola Fear

The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has written the Confederation of African Football (CAF), requesting the change of venue of its final qualification match against DR Congo because of concerns over the Ebola epidemic.

According to a release from the FA, it is troubled by the current Ebola situation in DR Congo, which is reaching alarming proportions, thereby reminding it of their ugly past with the disease.

In a communication to CAF, the LFA through its Secretary General Isaac Montgomery said, "Based on our experience with Ebola in Liberia and the death it brought to most of our brothers and sisters, we believe this could cause a great psychological impact on the minds of our players."

"This could serve as an impediment to our players' performance given our recent past of the Ebola epidemic in our country," added Montgomery in the communication sent to CAF on March 10.

According to the FA, CAF Secretary General Amr Fahmy responded, promising a "follow-up" would be conducted by CAF.

The outbreak, the second worst in history, is believed to have killed 587 people in a region beset by violence and poverty, media reports say.

According to a local media outlet, on Thursday, March 14, a group of young men attacked an Ebola center for the fifth time since last month, Congo's health ministry said, after medics attempted to collect samples from the body of a man suspected of having died of the virus.

Police opened fire to disperse the crowd in the Biena health zone, west of Butembo, killing one person and injuring another, the ministry said in a statement, according to Global News.

With no further feedback from CAF concerning the change of the match venue, the national team is expected to depart the country on Tuesday, March 19.

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