Ebola Hits Women Champs

Nigeria’s participation in the TN Mobile African Women Championships is uncertain after Namibia on Wednesday said it had banned entry into the country for people from Ebola-affected nations.

The Home Affairs and Immigration Ministry’s public relations officer, Salome Kambala, on Wednesday confirmed that Namibia had placed a temporary travelling ban between itself and countries where the deadly Ebola is prevalent.

Ebola-hit countries include Nigeria, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

The tournament in question is scheduled for 11-25 October in Windhoek.

“We issued communication to our embassies in countries affected [by Ebola] that we are not allowing people from those countries to travel to Namibia, unless the World Health Organisation confirms that the disease is contained and that it is safe to travel,” Kambala said when responding to enquiries about Nigerian pop group P-Square being denied entry into the country ahead of their scheduled music show in Windhoek on Saturday.

She added that “no travellers will be allowed from Nigeria”, including the football team, until the “disease is under control”.

NFA president John Muinjo, who had repeatedly said Namibia had been given the license to forge ahead with the hosting of the ninth edition of Africa’s premier women’s football competition despite serious Ebola outbreak concerns, on Wednesday told The Namibian Sport that he had not been informed of the travelling ban.

In fact, Muinjo forwarded the media communication by Caf with the participating nations earlier Wednesday, informing them of the medical requirements for travelling to Namibia for the Championships.

“This is news to me,” Muinjo said. “If this is the case, then I have not been informed about that. The only information with regard to the Ebola situation is that which Caf has communicated to the delegates.

“In the event that this is the situation, then we need to take a collective decision on the way forward. But we shouldn’t be panicking at this point in time. We have to remain positive. That is all I can say at this stage,” Muinjo concluded.

Should the travel restriction stick, it will force Caf and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to cancel or consider postponing the tournament, the latter being a scenario that was suggested by the head of the National Health Emergency Management Committee, Dr Jack Vries, several weeks earlier.

A postponement would appear the more plausible option, given that the tournament will arguably turn out to be a dead rubber without the allure of powerhouse Nigeria, who have won all but one of the previous tournaments.

Apart from the hosts and Nigeria, the biennial competition will also feature South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Cote d’Ivoire.

Holders Equatorial Guinea failed to qualify for the tournament.

Caf’s framework of the medical organisation of the tournament concerning Ebola Virus Disease outbreak is as follows:

– Before the departure to Namibia: You must be sure that you have been examined and you are in a good health (good general state, no fever, no asthenia, no headache, no sore throat, no vomiting, no diarrhoea, no skin rash, in brief no presumptive signs of Ebola among the delegation).

– At arrival in Namibia (in the airport): Each member of the delegation must respect and undergo the rules and regulations of the Rapid Response Medical team for screening (Temperature check… etc.). People coming from affected countries are given information and their details are taken to monitor them for twenty-one days.

Source : The Namibian

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