Updated 06:33 AM EST, Sun, Dec 05, 2021

Ebola Virus Outbreak 2014 Update: African Cup 2015 Soccer Tournament Threatened, Games Banned in Sierra Leone, Which Countries Refuse to Play?

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The spreading Ebola virus could affect one of Africa's key pastimes: soccer. The upcoming Africa Cup of Nations has had to suspend its original plans for the soccer tournament because of the current outbreak. The ebola virus is still going strong, with hundreds infected in countries across West Africa.

An important final round of qualifier matches for the 2015 African Cup could be moved to Ghana, reports said. In Sierra Leone, where more than 300 people have died from the Ebola virus in this recent outbreak, the government has said there will be no football.

Reports say that the governing body of the tournament, the Confederation of African Football (CAF), has informed the soccer officials in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone that they must relocate their games. Soccer officials in Sierra Leone are reportedly in talks with officials in Ghana for potentially arranging match play in Accra. Ghanaian officials are consulting with the country's health ministry to see if that would be a safe choice.

Officials in Guinea, where this recent Ebola outbreak is believed to have started, stated that around 370 people have already died there. The country's football federation originally thought it was a safe bet to hold the soccer tournament there, but with more than 1,000 people now dead from the current outbreak, the Confederation of African Football has insisted on relocating the important match. The qualifier, which will be played against Togo, is expected to take place Sept. 5. Reports said that the soccer team from Togo wouldn't accept a match on Guinea's home turf.

The president of the Guinea Football Federation sent a letter to the confederation that the soccer match must be moved. Officials from Guinea reportedly wanted their home games to be in a place that had a lot of Guinean nationals.

In the wake of the troubles surrounding the continent's premier soccer tournament, the World Health Organization has agreed to allow health officials to administer ZMapp, an experimental Ebola virus drug, to those infected in the region. Liberia is planning to treat two of its doctors who have been infected with the virus. The ZMapp drug is unproven at this point and in limited supply. 

The Liberian doctors would be the first Africans to receive the drug. ZMapp was given to two missionary workers from the U.S. who are still recovering in Atlanta, and a Spanish priest who recently died in Madrid.

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