The USA basketball team has canceled its scheduled trip to Senegal over Ebola concerns. The latest Ebola outbreak of the disease started earlier this year and has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000 people.
The USA men's national basketball team was scheduled to visit Africa for the first time on August 27. Team USA was set to conduct a clinic, along with the Senegal Men's National Team, for kids at the Marius Ndiaye Stadium in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal.a
The team was also scheduled to visit the Gorée Island of Senegal and attend a reception, which was to be hosted by the local government.
"We're excited about this special opportunity to visit Dakar and learn more about Senegal and its people," stated Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman at the announcement of the Senegal trip in July this year. "This will be a terrific experience for our entire group - players, coaches and staff.
However, the changing circumstances in West Africa has led to the cancellation of the scheduled trip to Senegal. Colangelo says that the World Health Organization (WHO) has already declared that the Ebola outbreak in some West African countries can pose a threat to other African countries in the region. Even though there has been no reported case of Ebola in Senegal, which lies in West Africa, a health risk may persist.
As a precautionary measure, Senegal recently announced the closure of its border with Guinea, where around 377 people have already died of the disease and over 500 people are said to be affected with Ebola.
"I speak for all at USA Basketball when I say we're extremely disappointed we will not be able to visit Senegal," says Colangelo. "Our entire traveling party was very much looking forward to the experience."
The USA Basketball team is currently training in Chicago and will play an exhibition game with Brazil on August 16. The team has another two exhibition matches games scheduled on August 20 against Dominican Republic and on August 22 against Puerto Rico in New York. After these two games, Team USA will head to the Spanish Island of Gran Canaria, where it will play an exhibition game on August 26 against Slovenia.