The outbreak of the Coronavirus has forced the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to postpone this month’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers which include Nigeria’s clash against Sierra Leone.
The third round of qualifying matches for 2021 AFCON was set for March 25-31, but it won’t hold anymore following CAF’s statement.
Breaking: @CAF_Online postpone #AFCON2021Q. #Covid_19 #CoronaOutbreak pic.twitter.com/x7Gc9BvE6Y
— Osasu Obayiuwana (@osasuo) March 13, 2020
The disease which originated in China has killed over 4,000 people and has affected a lot of sporting events. All of Europe’s top five leagues have been suspended, while UEFA club competitions have been postponed.
Although Africa has only recorded a few cases of people contracting the virus, CAF decided to postpone the qualifiers because a majority of the players will come from Europe which is the region that has the second-highest number of cases.
Also, clubs are unwilling to release their players, given the risks involved. Italy is the world’s worst-hit country after China, and several African stars play in the Italian Serie A.
The Premier League decided to suspend games until April 3 after cases were confirmed at Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea winger, Callum Hudson Odoi is the first player to be infected with the virus, while Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta also tested positive to the virus.
Leicester City manager, Brendan Rodgers announced on Thursday that three of his players are in self-isolation after showing symptoms of the virus. The whole Everton squad are also in isolation after one of the team members displayed signs of the symptoms.
A new date for this round of qualifiers will be communicated following the evaluation of the situation.
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