The Nigeria Cricket Federation has ended camping for the senior national team following the postponement of the African T20 Championship over coronavirus fears.
The Africa Cricket Association announced that on advice from the Kenyan government, the event which had been scheduled for 20 March in Nairobi would no longer hold due to rising global health concerns around Coronavirus (COVID 19).
Nigeria’s national team, The Yellow Greens had been in camp since 29 February in preparation for the event and were due to embark on a training tour of Zimbabwe on Monday.
A statement jointly signed by the ACA’s chief executive, Cassim Suliman and chairperson, Jackie Janmohamed said the decision to postpone the championship was taken following “in-depth communications with local and international authorities” and was aimed at ensuring the “safety of all concerned both domestically and internationally”.
“We regret to advise the participating members who are competing in the ACA T20 Africa Cup Kenya 2020 has been postponed until further notice,” the statement read.
“The ACA respects the decision of the Government of Kenya and supports all efforts that safeguard the country against the possible entry of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). This decision has been taken by the ACA Board as well as in consultation with all the Health Ministries of the various countries.”
The Kenyan government has also banned all meetings and conferences “of an international nature” and advised Kenyans to avoid gatherings with more than 15 people in attendance.
Reacting to the development, NCF general manager Emeka Igwilo said the decision placed great importance on safeguarding the health of players, fans and officials and noted that the Federation has closed the Lagos camp as a result.
“As an ACA member federation, I believe the postponement will douse some tension around the event especially as the outbreak around the Coronavirus is on the increase of late. We have also informed our team presently camped in Lagos of the development and camp has been closed,” he said.
“A lot of sporting events have been hit as more people and countries are avoiding public gathering as a way to curb the outbreak of the virus. I believe, the postponement is in the interest of all,” he added.
The eight-nation championship was supposed to feature Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Ghana, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, and hosts Kenya.
The ACA said it will keep members updated on future developments around the event.