Covid-19 Fear Delays Liberia-Nigeria Clash

The Lone Star of Liberia, which was scheduled to open its 2022 World Cup second round qualifying campaign against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on June 6 in Lagos, may have to wait a little longer.

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) ruled that the qualifiers have been moved from June to September due to the recent spread of the Covid-19 that has made it impossible for some of the venues to host matches.

CAF said in a statement that the decision was made in conjunction with FIFA “taking into consideration the current disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need to ensure optimal playing conditions for all teams.”

The qualifiers were scheduled to begin in early June, having already been postponed from October last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cape Verde and Central African Republic are the other teams in Group C. Super Eagles Manager, Gernot Rohr was expected to release his list of 50 players to use during these qualifiers for the race to Qatar 2022.

Last week, CAF issued a list of approved stadiums for the first two rounds of qualifiers, which left a quarter of the 40 teams competing for places in Qatar 2022 without a venue to play their home matches.

The Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos to host Super Eagles games of the qualifiers was given all- clear as the rate of Covid-19 infectious was under considerable control in the country.

Countries who were affected include Senegal, who competed at the last World Cup in Russia in 2018, and Mali, who were among the top seeded teams for the preliminaries.

Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Namibia, Niger and Sierra Leone have all also been affected. There has also been concern over travel restrictions placed on players coming from Europe, many of whom had to sit out March’s final round of qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations due to some host countries being on the ‘red lists’ of European nations due to the pandemic.

According to CAF, the shift in calendar means there will now be two rounds of World Cup qualifiers in each of the FIFA international windows in September, October and November this year, essentially concluding the group phase in 11 weeks.

The 10 group winners will then advance to the final playoff stage in March, which is contested on a home and away basis, where the five victors will earn their place in Qatar.

Nigerian Firms To Support NPA On Port Development Nigerian companies within the SIFAX Group recently received the management of the National Port Authority (NPA) in Lagos to establish a partnership which will support Liberia’s maritime industry.

The group disclosed this in a statement made available by the group’s Corporate Affairs Manager, Muyiwa Akande.Akande said, “SIFAX Group has assured the Liberian government of its readiness to partner with the country in order to explore opportunities in its maritime and logistics sector.

“This assurance was given during a facility tour of Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited (the flagship maritime subsidiary of SIFAX Group) and SIFAX Inland Container Terminal, Ijora Causeway, Lagos, by the management of the NPA led by Bill Twehway as Managing Director.

“While welcoming the visitors, Capt. Ibraheem Olugbade, Executive Director, Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, noted that SIFAX Group is ready to share its wealth of experience in the management of port facilities.” He added that the group, in realization of its Pan-African dream, was seeking to expand its operations into various African countries.

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