By Sahr Morris Jnr.
The Sierra Leone national team, Leone Stars may likely pull out of the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers due to lack of playing venue and financial obligations.
Sierra Leone is still searching for a neutral ground to host their Group D matches following the Africa football governing body, CAF’s order due to the deadly Ebola virus which is affecting the country and neighbouring Guinea and Liberia.
Recently, the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) made a request to their West Africa counterpart, Ghana to play in Accra but that has been rejected by Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh.
Sierra Leone’s first match will be against Ivory Coast in Abidjan on 6 September before facing DR Congo four days later at a neutral ground.
With the football authorities still searching for a venue, it is rumoured that the next point of call will be Morocco.
Another issue that will crop up is the financial obligation, and according to a source within the Sports Ministry, finding a neutral ground and other related costs will see an expenditure estimated at over US$1 million; an amount the government will not be willing to spend as they continue to fight the spread of the Ebola virus.
Already several airlines, including the Ivorian authorities, have suspended all flights to and from Sierra Leone until further notice due to the Ebola outbreak, which is another cost in airlifting delegations from Freetown to any venue.