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AFCON 2021 qualifiers postponed - Sport and News blog in Nigeria
AFCON 2021 qualifiers postponed because of coronavirus fears
March 14, 2020

Europe-based Eagles may not honour Sierra Leone game

Due to the travelling restrictions in some countries across the world over the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) scare, there are fears that most of the players invited for this month’s African Cup of Nations qualifier against the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone may not honour the game.

The Super Eagles will host the Leone Stars at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on March 27. Yesterday, Eagles Media Officer, Toyin Ibitoye tried to douse the anxiety when he said that the Federal Government and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) were monitoring the situation on ground, adding that credible information on the players’ travelling logistics would be known next week.Advertisement

He noted that preparations for the game was still in top gear, even as the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has declared that all the AFCON qualifiers would still hold.

“There are travel bans in some countries to protect their citizens from being affected with Covid-19. Some of the invited Super Eagles players for the AFCON game play football in these countries. So, the NFF is closely watching events to ensure everything is alright ahead of the AFCON tie.

“CAF has already given the nod for the qualifier to take place. As events unfolds, the necessary information would be put across on the situation with the foreign-based players,” he said.

Ibitoye also added that Super Eagles manager, Gernot Rohr would be in the country to prepare the team for the match.Most of the Nigerian players based in Europe play in Germany, England, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal. These are countries that have adopted stern measures in the battle against the Coronavirus.

Italy is the worst hit European country in the crisis with matches in Serie A either played without fans or cancelled outright.The news broke yesterday that Juventus defender, Daniele Rugani and Sampdoria striker, Manolo Gabbiadini have become the first two Serie A players to test positive for the coronavirus.

Rugani, 25, the first to test positive on Wednesday night, was on the bench for Juve’s clash with Inter on Sunday and at Lyon in the Champions League on February 26. Juve and Inter players have gone into isolation and Inter stopped all activity until further notice.

Sources said Rugani started showing the first symptoms on Tuesday.Juve’s cross-city rivals Torino yesterday also stopped training.
Gabbiadini also tested positive yesterday. Genoa club Samp said Gabbiadini had a few lines of fever but nothing more.

“The club is activating all the procedures of isolation laid down by the rules,” it said. Sampdoria players and its recent opponents went into isolation. Nigerian defenders, Ola Aina and William Troost-Ekong play for Torino and Udinese in the Serie A respectively.

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