East End Lions quest to compete in this year’s Champions League is over after the Freetown based club confirmed they will not be participating against the illustrious Asante Kotoko of Ghana in the 19th edition of the Orange CAF Champions League 2015 preliminary round.
A news the Ghanaians will welcome – it means Asante Kotoko thus earns a walkover into the next round of the competition.
“We are obviously disappointed with the fact that we can’t compete against a tough side like Kotoko because of the present health situation.”
“The Ebola has really caused a lot of problem for our football. It’s obvious opponents refuse to play in Freetown because the first things they think of is how to protect themselves from Ebola virus.
“It’s better to avoid any further discrimination due to Ebola epidemic,” A Lions official who wants to remain unidentified told www.Footballsierraleone.net.
Local sports reporter, Bernard Turay also reiterated Lions withdrawal. “Sources from the Football Association stated Lions withdrawal is down to ‘Lack of Finance’,” he said.
The 2013 Sierra Leonean champions were supposed to have open their campaign against Asante Kotoko of Ghana on the weekend of February 13-15, with the second leg coming off two weeks after but the club fondly called “the Killers” has finally pulled out of the African biggest club showcase.
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will have to access the situation and might level a fine against East End Lions in the region of US$ 1,500 for failing to participate.
Footballsierraleone.net reported last month about the uncertainty surrounding the Killers campaign after the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) head of competitions Sorie Ibrahim Sesay stated Lions is unwilling to participate.
“They have been engaged to play Asante Kotoko of Ghana, but I don’t see their willingness to partake though not official yet,” Mr. Sesay said.
However; The Lions Secretary General Abdul Rahman Davies was the first of the club official to offer a hint of the club’s position
“I don’t think Lions will be competing in the clubs continental big stage,” Rahman was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Football activities still suspended by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) in the country until further notice because of the Ebola outbreak.
As a result, Sierra Leone’s national team, Leone Stars participations in the 2015 group stage was on the road.
Asante Kotoko who was eliminated by Liberian club Barrack Young Controllers in the previous competition now has the chance to build ahead of their next CAF fixture.