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Due to Ebola outbreak…

Bellamy fears his football academy will close

DECEMBER 4, 2014 By Sahr Morris Jr.

Former Liverpool and Manchester City striker, Craig Bellamy, says he fears that his football academy at Tombo in the outskirts of Freetown could be forced to close due to the Ebola outbreak in the country.

According to the Walesonline, the former Wales captain continues to express his fear for the operation of his academy with the number of cases reported from the country daily even though the 29 boys who are presently residing at a site have remained safe.

Another issue which has left the former Newcastle forward more worrisome about the academy operation is that Johnny McKinstry – the former Sierra Leone national team’s Northern Ireland coach, who also runs the academy – is leaving soon and there is no chance of Bellamy finding a replacement.

“Who is going to join us and move to Sierra Leone at the moment?” Bellamy, 35, told Mirror.co.uk. “It’s not going to happen. I need sponsorship to help keep the academy going, too, but how can I start talking about money when entire families are being wiped out. I can’t.

“We can’t keep it open if there’s nobody to supervise the place because that would be dangerous in itself, but it’s very difficult because the boys have been safe there. Once they leave and go back to their villages, there is a far greater risk that they are going to be exposed to Ebola.”

He added: “We’re desperately trying to make other arrangements for the boys who come from areas that have been badly affected. We’re hoping that they will be able to stay at the homes of other academy boys who live in villages that have remained free from the virus. The honest truth is I don’t know when we will be able to re-open. The scale of what is happening out there is terrible.”

Bellamy, who fell in love with Sierra Leone on a visit here nearly a decade ago, has ploughed more than £1 million of his own money into the academy through his Craig Bellamy Foundation.

He has been hands-on in the establishment of the project and was in Sierra Leone in May – the day the first case of Ebola was confirmed in the country.

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