ALLOW ME to react to Junior Sabena Mutabazi’s article, “Why Morocco was right to call for CAN 2015 postponement” (The New Times, November 13).
Unfortunately, the author of this opinion piece, though well written, has fallen for the same hysteria about Ebola as the Moroccan Government as well as many in other countries who for different reasons may not understand the current Ebola crisis.
A few points may have escaped Mr. Mutabazi’s attention:
Among the three countries hit by Ebola in West Africa, only Guinea has a realistic chance of qualifying. Sierra Leone is at the bottom of Group D with only one point after four games it is highly unlikely that it will qualify ahead of Cameroon, DR Congo and Côte d’Ivoire, especially since it plays its home games in Congo Brazzaville.
Guinea is also at the bottom of their group with Ghana and Togo leading the pack. Their chances are slim to say the least, though we can’t rule them out.
The nature of African fans as I am one of them is that they will be very unlikely to travel to the CAN to support other nations apart from their own.
Even if Guinea were to qualify, the hypocrisy of the Moroccan decision is such that it doesn’t make sense at all, because, due to CAF regulations, the three Ebola-stricken countries cannot host home games. Guinea’s home games are all currently played in Casablanca, Morocco.
So to me, Morocco’s decision, though probably well intended, does betray either naive or hysterical and unreasonable excess of zeal on their part.
My view is that I will side with WHO and CAF (although I understand they also have sponsorship concerns). But what I can assure you, for the country that takes up the tournament, be it Angola, Algeria or any other, there will not be an Ebola outbreak as a result of hosting the tournament, if all the recommended WHO travel requirements are implemented.
COUNTRIES HAVE a right to host a tournament or not basing on what its leaders believe is in the best interest of its nationals.
For the case of Morocco, this decision was taken at the height of an Ebola outbreak in three West African countries and it was “assumed” that hosting such a continental tournament poses high risks of propagating the virus. Well founded arguments for sure.
Nevertheless, I would like to recommend more sensitisation on how Ebola spreads and to reiterate what experts have often said that closing borders will do more harm to countries than the virus itself.