Malaria infected Libyan footballers finally arrive for treatment in Rome

By Sami Zaptia.

Libya’s malaria-infected footballers arrive in Rome for treatment (Photo: Libyan embassy Rome).

London, 5 August 2021:

Two Libyan Air Ambulances finally arrived in Rome yesterday carrying 10 members of the country’s Mini Football team infected with malaria. The players arrived after bureaucratic delays as they waited for their clearance by Libyan and Italian authorities. At least two other players were forced to remain behind as they tested positive for Coronavirus.

The players had been participating in the second African Minifootball Cup in Nigeria in July. Their arrival in Rome follows on from the death of a member of the team (Ayman Nigresh) from Malaria last Wednesday after returning from the tournament in Nigeria.

His death and the infection of the players has caused an understandable furore in Libya as it was revealed that the football team were not inoculated for malaria prior to flying to Nigeria.

This has led to accusations and finger-pointing exercises between the Libyan Sports Ministry and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), with the former claiming that the latter had advised it that the players did not need inoculating. The NCDC has denied this.

Politically, the incident has been used as evidence of poor government and a lack of care and concern for Libya’s youth by the authorities.

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