The deadly virus known as Ebola rocked the world and made headlines across the United States during 2014. However, most Americans seemed to have forgotten about it over the last year. One nation that hasn’t is Guinea.
The African nation has been dealing with outbreaks and it resulted in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to ban Guinea from hosting matches. It appears that ban is over, as the BBC is reporting CAF has lifted the ban.
“Caf has learned with joy and relief the announcement by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 29 December, officially confirming that Guinea is now declared Ebola free,” the African body said in a letter.
“Caf thereby confirms lifting the ban on the organization of continental matches in Guinea, and for all competitions organized by Caf.”
It is a massive relief for a nation that has been on high alert in regards to the virus for the better part of two years now. Ebola has reportedly killed 2,500 people in Guinea and over 9,000 in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Both of those nations had their bans lifted earlier in 2015, making Guinea the final of the three banned hosts to get back to playing the game on home soil.
Guinea played most of its designated home matches in Morocco, but will no longer have to deal with that.
With the official thumbs up from the regional confederation, Guinea’s national team will be able to play host to Malawi in a critical qualifier for the 2017 African Cup of Nations. That match is slated to take place on March 23rd.
Guinea is drawn in to Group L in qualification and are currently fourth in the group with one point. It has been drawn in the group with Swaziland (group leaders through two matches), Zimbabwe, and Malawi. Winning the match against Malawi at home may be the catalyst to jump start the hopes of qualification, as they sit three points off the top of the table in Group L, which qualifies the winner for a guaranteed spot in the African Cup of Nations.