Liberia has been excluded from participating in the African Junior Handball Tournament, from 28 July to 4, August, 2014 in Lome, Togo, due to the presence of Ebola in the country.
The LHA was expected to send both male and female teams to the Lome Tournament but was excluded from the tournament by the International Handball Federation (IHF).
LHA president J. Mayson Saweler told the Daily Observer that the IHF requested an Ebola Clearance Certificate, just before the two teams’ departure.
The Clearance Certificates were not part of the requirement for participation, he said, but with the increasing number of Liberians who have been affected and even lost their lives, the IHF decided to finally exclude Liberia from the tournament.
“Even Nigeria has also been excluded due to the reported death of a Liberian with the disease in that country,” Saweler said.
Liberia is in Zone 3 along with Ghana, Togo, (host), Burkina Faso, Benin and the Ivory Coast.
“Since we are the first organization to suffer from traveling abroad,” Saweler said, “I think it is necessary that we work along with other sports organizations to create more awareness against this deadly disease.”
“We play handball with bare hands,” Saweler said, “so we will demonstrate to all that we must obey preventive measures from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as we fight the disease.”
He announced an Ebola Awareness Campaign last Saturday involving more than 50 athletes at the Sports Commission.
He also used the occasion to appeal to UNESCO, UNDP and UNICEF to support his organization’s effort to provide awareness to handball players, who are mainly students, throughout the country.
At its awareness campaign on Saturday, Liberian musician, Ms. Emma Smith, who had donated jerseys to the association, was expected to be in attendance to entertain the players and the crowd.
He meanwhile made an appeal to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to allow his association to give a handball performance before and after the end of the forthcoming National County Meet.