On it’s way to Spain for the World Cup, Team USA was going to make a stop in Dakar in Senegal to do a day of clinics and events to promote basketball on the African continent.
But in the wake of the Ebola breakout in that region USA Basketball has decided to cancel that event, reports Marc Stein of ESPN after speaking with USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo.
“I speak for all at USA Basketball when I say we’re extremely disappointed we will not be able to visit Senegal,” Colangelo said. “Our entire traveling party was very much looking forward to the experience…
“Although the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] does not yet suspect any [Ebola] cases in Senegal, the country’s position as a neighboring country to Guinea and Dakar’s role as a gateway to West Africa heightened our concern,” Colangelo said.
USA was to be in Senegal, which borders Guinea, a country that has seen more than 500 reported cases of the deadly ebola disease and 377 deaths, according to the World Health Organization. In total there have been more than 1,000 deaths from the virus in the West African region.
USA Basketball is currently in Chicago, where there are a couple days of practices followed by a friendly against Brazil on Saturday night. From there Team USA moves on to New York for a week of practices and exhibitions. After that it is on to Spain for some final tune-ups and, eventually, the World Cup itself.
Team USA opens the World Cup in Bilbao, Spain, on Aug. 30 taking on Finland. The USA and host Spain are considered the gold medal favorites.