Ghana's AFCON opponents Guinea find venue for qualifier after Ebola ban

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Guinea’s home African Nations Cup qualifier against Togo will be played in Morocco, after they were forced to move the tie to a neutral venue following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.

The Group E qualifier will be played in Casablanca on Sept. 5, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) said on Tuesday.

CAF banned Guinea and Sierra Leone from hosting any international matches until mid-September and the latter are still looking for a venue for their home qualifiers as the virus continues to impact on African soccer.

Fatalities from the world’s worst outbreak of the deadly virus have risen above 1,200, mostly in Liberia but also in Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.

“The Federation Royale Marocaine de Football in agreement with the authorities of the Kingdom of Morocco has agreed to host their Guinea counterparts on their territory,” said a CAF statement on Tuesday.

Guinea had previously asked Senegal to allow them to host games in Dakar.

Yet Sierra Leone’s request to use Accra, capital of Ghana, has yet to be granted, leaving them in limbo as they prepare for the start of the qualifying group phase for next January’s finals in Morocco.

A statement from the Ghana Football Association last week said: “Though keen on offering its support, the GFA are uncertain about the health implications for the country.”

Sierra Leone play their first Group D qualifier away in the Ivory Coast, but then host the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sept. 10.

Lesotho refused to travel to Nigeria for an African Youth Championship match last weekend through fear of contamination.

There have been four deaths from Ebola in Lagos, but Nigeria have not been banned by CAF from hosting international matches.

“There was no way that we would send the team to Nigeria under these circumstances and with new reports of people dying due to the virus,” said Lesotho Football Association secretary general Mokhosi Mohapi.

Lesotho have since been disqualified and face possible sanction, CAF said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an international health emergency as it predicts the epidemic will continue for months. CAF said it had consulted the WHO and other organisations.

Earlier this month, Sierra Leone were handed a walkover in a playoff tie when their opponents the Seychelles refused the squad entry into the country because of fears of spreading the virus.

Both Liberia and Sierra Leone have suspended all football activity inside their country.

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