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Salone, Ivory Coast clash moved to Port Harcourt

September 2, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.

The 2017 Group I Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast will now take place at the Adokiye Amiesiamaka Stadium in Port Harcourt.

The match was earlier scheduled for the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Sunday September 6 but the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) on Tuesday confirmed the change of venue via their official website, ‘thenff.com’.

The change of venue sparked off conflicting reports as Nigerian-based online media, Nigerian Bulletin, had earlier reported that the Lagos State Government had rejected the proposal to host the match in Lagos due to Ebola scourge fear.

“Lagos government is not comfortable for the match to be played in Lagos; they say they don’t want to take any risks. They argued that they have lost a lot of money and top personalities on account of the Ebola scourge,” Lagos-based sports editor Tobi Emmanuel was quoted by the online media.

However, the NFF stated that they received a letter from the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) conveying concerns raised by the Federation Ivorienne de Football (FIF) about playing on artificial turf.

“We received a letter from the SLFA saying they are aware of serious concerns by the Ivorian Football Federation about their players playing on artificial turf, which is the texture of the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

“The NFF had concluded arrangements to have the match in Lagos, but as a result of the letter, we had to look elsewhere. We appreciate the Lagos State Government for showing interest in hosting the match,” NFF General Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Sanusi said.

Thenff.com reported that the Nigeria FA president, Amaju Pinnick, upon receiving the letter from SLFA quickly got on the phone to make contact with the Rivers State Government through the Rivers State Football Association, whose chairman, Barrister Chris Green, is also a member of the NFF Executive Committee.

The green light was given for the match to be played in Port Harcourt.

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