The outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria may jeopardise Lesotho U-20s chances of making their third entry into the African Youth Under-20 Championships set to take place in Senegal next year.
Lesotho face Nigeria in the third round’s first leg match away next week Sunday, after beating Swaziland and Angola 4-3 and 4-1 on goal aggregate in the first and second round, respectively.
However, the Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) general secretary Mokhoisi Mohapi said they would not risk sending the team to Nigeria if the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Confederation of African Football (CAF) do not respond to their letter concerning the outbreak of the pandemic in the host country.
Ebola is an infectious and generally fatal disease marked by fever and severe internal bleeding. It is spread through contact with infected body fluids by a filovirus, whose normal host species is unknown.
“I wrote to NFF and CAF two weeks ago concerning the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria but they haven’t responded yet,” said Mohapi in an interview.
“We wanted to know how safe it would be for the team (Makoanyane XI) because we don’t want to risk the players’ lives and of all of us in the country just because we want to win the match,” he indicated.
He however said they (LeFA) must keep reminding both NFF and CAF about their concern of sending Makoanyane XI to Nigeria.
“Ebola is a very transferable disease and dangerous for football players because football is a contact sport. So if there is no vaccine for Ebola, why would we take chances of bringing it at home?” asked Mohapi.
Nonetheless, Mohapi said they would not blame CAF if they do not respond to their concern about the outbreak of Ebola in Nigeria.
“It could happen that Nigeria won’t answer us simply because they would want us to forfeit the match to them, and we can’t blame CAF because they could ask us who said Ebola affects football regulations.”
Mohapi indicated that instead of blaming CAF, they would rather seek advice from Lesotho’s health department and the National Security Services.
Makonayane XI are already in camp for the Nigeria encounter.