Nigeria-DRC match to go ahead despite Ebola outbreak

2018-05-22 08:32
Alex Iwobi (Getty Images)

Abuja - Nigeria's sports minister gave the green light for a World Cup warm-up match against the Democratic Republic of Congo despite a fresh outbreak of Ebola.

The Super Eagles are due to play the game in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt next Monday as part of their final preparations for the finals in Russia next month.

Nigeria's football federation has said it would cancel the match if doctors advised it, to prevent the spread of the deadly haemorrhagic fever.

Emergency screening measures have been introduced at all Nigerian airports and ports.

But sports minister Solomon Dalung said the match would go ahead.

"Nigeria is going to play the friendly with DRC," he told reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.

"Strict measures" will be in place and the Nigerian Football Federation had taken advice from the country's health ministry and the World Health Organisation, he added.

"The DRC team is coming on a chartered flight, they will be screened from the DRC and they will also be screened here in Nigeria," he said.

"There is going to be no any other person that is going to be admitted using any other means of transportation for the match."

The death toll from the latest outbreak in DR Congo rose to 26 on Monday, as the government began vaccinating first responders to block the spread of the disease.

Seven people died of Ebola out of 19 confirmed cases in Nigeria in 2014. The country was praised for its response to the disease, which killed at least 11 000 elsewhere in West Africa.

Fans attending a match between Nigeria and the Republic of Congo in September that year were subjected to temperature checks.


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