Journalists barred from Nigeria, Sierra Leone clash

The Confederation of African Football has categorically stated that no journalists or supporters would be allowed inside the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin City for Friday’s 2022 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying match between the Super Eagles of Nigeria and the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone.

In the guidelines communicated to the Nigeria Football Federation, CAF instructed, under Media Operations, that there would be no mixed zone, virtual press conference only if possible (media officers from both teams only), and that only the TV channels with the rights will be allowed flash interviews.

Also, only photographers of participating teams would be allowed at the match.

The above puts to rest all previous speculations regarding having spectators at the match venue, and whether members of the media would be allowed into the arena.

Speaking yesterday, NFF’s Director of Competitions, Bola Oyeyode said only individuals accredited by the NFF would be allowed inside the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium for the Day 3 qualifier, which will kick off at 5pm Nigeria time.

It will also be recalled that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development had insisted that Nigeria’s game against Sierra Leone will be played without fans.

In a letter to the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, the Ministry insisted that the game will be played without fans in adherence to the directives from the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.

“The ministry wishes to bring to your urgent attention that in compliance with the condition of no gathering agreed upon by the ministry and the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 before the Federal Government opened up football and contacts sports, the match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone will not have any audience,” the letter stated

The Super Eagles currently lead Group L with six points after securing victories against the Republic of Benin and Lesotho.

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