Foreign Fans Chant “Ebola! Ebola!” at Sierra Leone Soccer Team
Sierra Leone’s soccer team is facing severe discrimination over the Ebola outbreak in the country.
Sierra Leonean players huddle at their match against Niger at the national stadium, Freetown, June 2011. (VOA)
At least, 930 people have died from the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone.
Cameroon recently restricted the number of Sierra Leonians arriving for the African Cup of Nations soccer qualifier to 40 people, including players.
The Sierra Leone team was banned from flying to Seychelles in August amid fears of the virus.
The New York Times reported:
Fans taunt them with chants of “Ebola.” Some opponents have hesitated to shake their hands or engage in the traditional swapping of jerseys. Humiliating medical screenings have become routine.
And in Cameroon, when the players on Sierra Leone’s exiled national soccer team checked into their hotel to prepare for an important match Saturday, some guests grew alarmed, and the police were called, a team spokesman said.
The Leone Stars then moved to a newly built hotel where they remain the only occupants, on the advice of Cameroon soccer and health officials.
“You feel humiliated, like garbage, and you want to punch someone,” John Trye, a reserve goalkeeper, said after hearing “Ebola” shouted at the players during a training session Thursday. “No one wants to have Ebola in their country. Sierra Leone is struggling. And they shove it in our face. That’s not fair.”