The Sierra Leone football team is suffering from the stigma associated with the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in their home country.
In August of this year the team were banned from playing home matches – effectively exiling the team. Since that time the Leone Stars have played all their games in other countries as they battle to qualify for the 2015 African Cup of Nations.
Unfortunately the team have had to put up with “Ebola” being chanted by hostile fans in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Cameroon. They have also received similar treatment while training in host nations.
The Sierra Leone team were insulted when Seychelles forfeited a match against them. The forfeit came only shorty before the match was due to start and no reason was given.
According to a report in the Times newspaper Sierra Leone players have their temperatures taken each morning and night – Even though none of them have set foot in their own country since July.
The constant innuendo is taking its toll. Sierra Leone forward Kei Kamara told reporters, ”We’re treated like we’re walking around with the disease.”
Michael Lahoud (Midfielder) admitted lying when asked about where he was from, telling a stranger who asked that he was an American basketball player.
“We felt it was for our protection, Lahoud told reporters.
Defender Abdul Bangura agreed, “they think all of us have Ebola.”
The Ebola virus has swept through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in recent months, killing more than 4000 people. The West African health system has been unable to contain the virulent and deadly disease.