Kumasi Asante Kotoko is set to seek clarification with the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) about the prudence of playing a champions league match in Sierra Leone which is an Ebola-prone country, now that they have been drawn with East End Lions.
The champions league and confederations cup draws which took place on Monday at CAF’s headquarters saw Kotoko drawn with Lions from Sierra Leone. While on first sight it could be said that the draw is a favourable one for the two-time African champions, Kotoko received news of the fixture with mixed feelings judging from the outbreak of the deadly viral disease.
As a result, the Ghanaian champions will draw CAF’s attention to the development and seek a change to the venue for the first leg from the 45,000-seater Brookfields National Stadium in Freetown, to a neutral Ebola-free venue. According to Kotoko, CAF is already aware that countries worst hit by the disease do not host international matches and are expecting a similar decision.
This was echoed by the club’s general manager Opoku Nti.
‘’We believe CAF will make a follow-up with a change of venue judging from what’s happening to our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone,’’ he said.
This is not the first time Ghana is confronted with an ‘Ebola fixture’. It will be recalled that Guinea’s government encouraged CAF to look for neutral grounds for their Cup of Nations qualifiers when they had to compete for places in the qualifiers for CAN 2015.
The Sylli Nationale who were in the same group with Ghana hosted the Black Stars in Rabat, Morocco.
The soft-spoken Opoku Nti sounded confident Kotoko’s situation will reflect that of the Sylli Nationale. ‘’CAF did it for Guinea during the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations and we are confident that our situation will follow that pattern,’’ he added.
Sierra Leone has recorded 8,356 Ebola cases, 2,085 of which have died making them the second worst hit country after Liberia.
East End Lions boast of former players of Ghanaian descent- Thomas Ampomah, Simeon Awuah, Kofi Badu and Atto Ayippey Mensah are but a few of their former players who were of Ghanaian parentage.
Atto Mensah who won the Sierra Leonean championship with East End Lions in 1980 and 1985, gained Sierra Leonean citizenship in 1987 having migrated from Ghana in 1980. He moved to the Netherlands after playing for a while for the Sierra Leonean national team where he acquired his coaching badges. He was recently appointed the coach of the Leone Stars in September 2014, though he was fired soon after.