Nigeria provide alternative venue for Sierra Leone-Ivory Coast Afcon qualifier

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) has confirmed that the country will entertain Sierra Leone’s qualifying matches for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The Leone Stars hosts African champions Cote d’Ivoire on Sunday, 6 September, and the NFF said in a statement on Wednesday that either the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos or the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt will serve as venue for the Match Day 2 encounter.

“We are delighted to announce that we have received the go-ahead from the Federal Ministry of Health to host the match. The Sierra Leoneans will come with a delegation of 32, made up of mostly overseas –based professionals, technical crew and officials of the SLFA, to be led by its president, Isha Johansen,” the federation’s president, Amaju Pinnick, said.

“The NFF has initiated discussions with the Lagos State Government and the Rivers State Government on preventive measures, such as keeping Sierra Leone’s small delegation in a special hotel where they can be monitored at all times.”

During the 2014 World Cup qualifying series, Sierra Leone played their home matches in Abidjan following the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the country.

Pinnick said: “We are talking of hosting the African champion team, with the likes of African Player of the Year, Yaya Toure and others, and this will certainly earn us commendation from CAF and FIFA.”

A new case of Ebola was reported in Sierra Leone several weeks ago and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has yet to officially declare the country free of the virus.

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