Nigeria’s national U-19 cricket team, Junior Yellow-Green, has arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, where it will defend the African title that earned the team a first Cricket World Cup appearance.
The team, which arrived yesterday morning, had flown in from Harare, Zimbabwe, where it had been on a 10-day pre-tournament tour ahead of the championship, whose winner will fill the last of the continent’s spot at the ICC U-19 Cricket Championship in 2022.
Nigeria’s Coach, Uthe Ogbimi, is optimistic and says his team is well prepared and will be taking the event one game at a time.
“We are going into this ICC U-19 Africa World Qualifier as the defending champions and that puts a lot of attention on us, we know that. But our plan is to take every game on its merit.
“Our most important game is our next game and we are primed to give our best to every game. No team at this event is ordinary and we hope to treat everyone with such respect,” he said.
Six-time winners of the event and last edition’s runner-up, Namibia, Uganda, Tanzania and host Rwanda make up the list of teams jostling for honours at the eight-day tournament.
Nigeria plays its opening match on Friday against hosts Rwanda, before taking on Tanzania on Sunday. The team will meet Uganda on Monday before closing the event against Namibia on Wednesday, October 6.
In the Nigerian squad are: Captain Boniface Oche, Prosper Useni, Ridwanulahi Mohammed, Victor Ipoli, Destiny Chilemanya, Nzube Nwokike, Ridwan Kareem, Lukman Kofoworola, Joshua Sunday, Talabi Odunayo, Paul Pam, Huzaifa Abdulsalam, Theophilus Jeremiah, Isaac Onyemgba, Udekwe Chiemelie and Elochukwu Ndubudem.
The winner of the qualifying series will take up the African spot at the 2022 U-19 Cricket World Cup scheduled for West Indies. South Africa and Zimbabwe have already booked their spots at the event along with 13 other teams.