AFCON Qualifier: Nigeria Hosts Sierra Leone In Empty Ogbemudia Stadium
The Super Eagles of Nigeria will play host to the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone in an empty stadium as the country’s sports ministry and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 have warned the Edo State Government, on whose domain the game will take place to observe all safety measures against the pandemic by not allowing fans into the arena.
Before then-Governor Godwin OBASEKI of Edo State had promised that he would fling the stadium open fo fans in order to ensure that Sierra Leone was massively defeated in the first of the two legs of the 2020 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers between the two countries.
The Nigerian Sports Ministry and the PTF, in a letter to the deputy governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shaibu, said: “The ministry wishes to bring to your urgent attention that in compliance with the condition of no gathering agreed upon by the Ministry and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 before the Federal Government opened up football and contacts sports, the match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not have any audience and no gathering save for players, match officials and government officials from both countries.
“Testings must be conducted on all of them prior to the match. The no-gathering no audience for football and contact sports is still in force, which means there shall be no gathering for the Nigerian vs Sierra Leone match as any violation of this condition may lead to a rollback of the opening up of football and contact sports in the country.”The PTF and the Ministry are on the same page on this matter and the protocol for clearances rests with both the Ministry and the PTF when it comes to staging any sports event in Nigeria. Full compliance with Covid-19 protocols is to be enforced,” the letter read.
The PTF is worried about a spike following the second wave of COVID-19 and is considering another lockdown.The Edo State Government had announced that the gates would be thrown open to allow fans to watch the game.The match is billed for the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City next weekend.