The Ministry of Health has eventually cleared the Federation of Uganda Football-FUFA to host the Guinea football team in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier on September 10th.
Last night, the Ministry had asked FUFA to cancel the fixture in fear of exposing Ugandans to the deadly Ebola pandemic.
Guinea was the starting point of the current outbreak which has killed over 1500 people in the region. The other affected countries are Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
The Cranes are meant to host Guinea at the Mandela National Stadium-Namboole, in the second Group E game. Head Coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic’s team will play their first game away to Ghana on September 6th in the town of Kumasi.
State Minister for Sports, Charles Bakkabulindi confirmed to URN on Friday afternoon that the clearance has now come through, but with some conditions.
A letter signed by Prof. Anthony K. Mbonye for the Director General of Health Services advised FUFA to allow the Guinea National team come to Uganda with only 25 persons excluding fans.
Mbonye stressed that although the World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend travel or trade restrictions for countries affected by Ebola, the risks of importing the virus into Uganda cannot be ignored, hence, they have been forced to have measures in place for purposes of prevention.
Among some of the measures, the Guinea team should be screened before boarding the plane en-route to Uganda, FUFA will facilitate a Ministry of Health expert as well as the FUFA doctor to travel to Morocco and observe firsthand, the screening modalities being carried out in Morocco before departure to Uganda.
The Guinea team will play their opening game against Togo in Morocco because the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) shifted the game to a neutral ground in fear of Ebola.
The Ministry of Health also instructed FUFA to provide information on all players of the Guinea team including names and areas of origin in Guinea.
That once in Uganda, the visiting team will be advised to stay in one comfortable Hotel from where all their requirements will be met and their visa entry should not be more than five days.
FUFA’s Head of Finance, Decolas Kiiza later revealed that they had indeed acquired the clearance and will make sure they follow what the Ministry of Health requires.