Ebola fears sideline Guinea football star

    Lass Bangoura is a regular for Rayo Vallecano in Spain's La Liga competition as well as a Guinea international.

    Story highlights

    • Guinea star Alhassane (Lass) Bangoura withdraws from national squad
    • Bangoura cites fears of his Rayo Vallecano club teammates over Ebola
    • Guinea due to play against Ghana in Morocco
    • "I am fine" Bangoura says when asked about his health
    Guinea international Lass Bangoura pulled out of a key African Cup of Nations match against Ghana Saturday because his club teammates were worried he could contract Ebola.
    Bangoura, who plays for Rayo Vallecano in Spain, told the La Liga side's official website that he had been told of their fears in a phone call while training for the Group E qualifier.
    With Guinea one of the worst affected countries by the deadly virus, the international match had already been moved to the Moroccan city of Casablanca, but that apparently did not satisfy his fellow Rayo squad members.
    "My teammates were afraid and at the end of practice I spoke with the (Guinea) coach Michel Dussuyer and said there was a problem, because of Ebola.
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    "I asked him if I could be excused because I didn't want any problems with the club, because they are the ones who pay my salary," he said.
    Bangoura has now returned to his club, who are based in the Spanish capital Madrid where earlier this week a nurse became the first person in Europe to contract Ebola outside of West Africa.
    She remains critically ill in hospital.
    "My Rayo teammates welcomed me back," Bangoura said. "They have confidence in me, but what people need to understand is that when you are summoned for the national team, you have to see a doctor and get tested.
    "Every national team has its own doctor who takes care of these issues. I am fine, there is no problem (with my health)," he added.
    The 22-year-old Bangoura is a regular in the Rayo first team and has also established himself in his national squad.
    He was concerned that his withdrawal could lead to problems for his family back home in Guinea.
    "I just spoke to my mother, we have been talking. It is the first time I have left the national team and I am scared that there could be some crazy person who harms my family.
    "This afternoon I'll be speaking on my country's radio to say I have no issue with the national team and to say I'm sorry."
    The spread of the Ebola virus has had a serious impact on football in affected countries, with all competitive games stopped in Sierra Leona.
    African Cup of Nations qualifiers involving its national team, Guinea and Liberia have also been relocated by the Confederation of African Football.