AFCON 2019 Qualifiers: Liberia Requests Change of Venue Over Ebola Fear
In the wake of the ongoing Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Liberia Football Association (LFA) has requested the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to change the venue for its crucial Group G Africa Cup of Nations qualifier game against DR Congo on March 24, 2019.
The Liberian football house said it is troubled by the current Ebola situation in the central African country, which is reaching alarming proportions, thereby reminding it of their ugly past with the disease.
Recently, for the second time in many weeks, militants attacked an Ebola treatment center in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as the country battles an epidemic that has already killed nearly 1,000 people, with no sign of slowing down, a media report says.
"Based on our experience with Ebola in Liberia and the death it brought to most of our brothers and sisters, we believe this could cause a great psychological impact on the minds of our players," said LFA secretary-general Isaac Montgomery.
"(This) could serve as an impediment to our players' performance given our recent past of the Ebola epidemic in our country," added Montgomery in a letter sent to CAF secretary-general Amr Fahmy on 10 March.
Fahmy responded, promising a "follow-up" would be conducted by CAF.
The match is scheduled for the Stade des Martyrs in Kinshasa with Liberia second in Group G on seven points and DR Congo on six points.
Meanwhile, Liberia national team head coach Thomas Kojo has released his list of 20 players for the crucial match against DR Congo, with Sam Johnson returning to the squad after missing the Lonestar’s 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe on November 18, 2018.
Noticeable names absent from the squad include South Africa-based Anthony Laffor, who is serving a match suspension after receiving two successive yellow cards, and Spanish-born Liberian goalkeeper Boison Wynney de Souza who was replaced by Barrack Young Controller (BYC) goalkeeper Alpha Jalloh.
Newcastle United Under-23 midfielder Mohammed Sangare, who was left on the bench as an unused substitute in Liberia’s previous game, is expected to make his debut as one of the nine foreign-based players invited.
The first leg between Liberia and DR Congo ended 1-1 after Elia Meschak came off the bench in the 56th minute to fire home the equalizer in the 82nd minute.
- Alpha Jalloh - BYC
- Ashely Williams – LISCR FC
- Tommy Songo – LISCR FC
- Gasimu Sheikh Kouyateh - Pags FC.
- Joel Johnson Alajarin – (Charlotte Independent, USA)
- Kemoh Kamara – LISCR FC
- Teah Dennis – BYC FC
- Alvin Marccornel – LPRC Oilers
- Aloysius Simujla - LPRC Oilers
- Eugene Swen - BYC
- Allendinho Njie – (Grasshopper Zurich, Switzerland)
- Marvin Blapoh - Monrovia Club Breweries FC
- Mohammad Sangare – (Newcastle U23, England)
- Murphy Oscar Dorley – (Slovan Liberec, Czech Republic)
- Sylvanus Nimely – (Sparta Moscow II, Russia)
- Tonia Tisdell – (Nea Salamanis, Cyprus)
- Terrence Morris Tisdell- (Sanjoanese, Portugal)
- Kpah Sean Sherman – (PKNS Selangor, Malaysia)
- Sam Johnson – (Real Salt Lake, USA)
- William Jebor – (Wydad Casablanca, Morocco)
Image: Anthony Kokoi