Despite the NFF players’ safety plans, the Confederation of African Football has postponed the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) doubleheader between Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
The games, which were scheduled to hold in Asaba and Freetown, have now been postponed due to the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement released on the African football governing body’s website, the decision was due to the growing concerns over the spread of the virus and warnings from the World Health Organisation.
“Following the growing concerns of the COVID-19 virus and the declaration by the World Health Organisation describing it as a pandemic, CAF has decided to postpone the following competitions until further notice,” reads the statement.
"Total AFCON 2021 Qualifiers: Match Day three and four of the qualifiers scheduled for March 25 to 31, 2020, Women’s U-20 World Cup Qualifiers and the Women’s AFCON 2020 Qualifiers.”
Before the postponement of the games were confirmed, the President of the Nigeria Football Federation, Amaju Pinnick, had said that there were plans to ensure the safety of the Super Eagles players for the doubleheader Africa Cup of Nations Cup clash with Sierra Leone.
While addressing journalists, the former CAF vice-president revealed that the federation was working with the ministry of health to protect the players invited for the game even though there had been no report of the coronavirus yet in Sierra Leone.
“We are working with the ministry, both the ministry of youth and sport and the ministry of health regarding the coronavirus, in ensuring that we are very well prepared.
“We are also in touch with the disease control unit of the federal ministry of health. What we have decided to do, with the permission of the minister, is to try to restrict the movement towards the Super Eagles players as much as possible.
“We have made arrangement for a charter that will take them directly from here on the 30th of this month and straight to Freetown.
“We are going with a smaller jet because we don’t want anybody aside from the players and probably three NFF officials to go with them. We want to reduce bodily contact as much as possible.
“We had a deal with their clubs and we also need to protect them as much as possible because they are very excited about this game.”