By Ijeoma Okigbo
Uyi Akpata, president of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), has urged Nigeria’s male cricket team to fight for a berth in the 2022 T20 World Cup holding in Rwanda.
Akpata told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday against the backdrop of the team’s preparations for the tournament.
Team Nigeria, nicknamed ‘Yellow Greens’ arrived Kigali on Friday for the tournament scheduled to begin on Wednesday to Nov. 21.
Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda will vie, alongside Nigeria, for the sole qualifying spot and Ukpata says he was hopeful for a good outing by the Yellow Greens.
“The team has been training together for weeks and had two major tournament exposures in Uganda and the bilateral series in Lagos against Sierra Leone last month.
“We are very pleased with the way the team is turning out and equally hope for the best outing when they file out in Kigali as from Wednesday,” Akpata said.
The sports administrator also added that the young squad was a testament of the federation’s long term goal for a crack national team.
“The bulk of the senior team are from the Under-19 team that led Nigeria, including to her first ever world cup in 2020, including Sylvester Okpe, the team’s new captain, who is 20 years old, about the same age as many of the players in the team.
“The team also comprises a number of talented experienced players. It is a mix that the head coach (Asanka Gurusinha) is working with now and we are backing him all the way.
“This shows our long-term objective for the national team,” Akpata added.
On his part, Gurusinha said he wanted the team to travel early to enable them settle down ahead of the busy qualifying schedule.
“This qualifiers’ schedule is a tough one, considering that we will be playing six matches in four days, but I think our team is very ready for the battle.
“At each stage of our preparation, we brought in new ideas that have improved the quality of the team.
” I think we have a far better team going for this event now, and we are very optimistic,” he added.
Nigeria’s Yellow-Green will square up against Tanzania and Uganda on Wednesday at the Gahanga International Cricket Stadium in Kigali. (NAN)