Nigeria, Ghana Renew Rivalry in Winner Takes All Battle



Duro Ikhazuagbe

Nigeria’s national cricket team is determine to shed the second fiddle garb this afternoon as the Yellow Green takes on their Ghanaian counterparts handled by Coach Kodam Kofi Anafie at the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) World T2O Africa ‘A’ qualifier inside the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos.

Last Tuesday, the Nigerian team conceded their only loss so far in the ongoing qualifiers to bitter rival Ghana by seven wickets on Match-day 3. This reverse fixture is bound to be full of tension as the Yellow Green seeks for a pound of flesh from the visiting Ghanaians who waited till the final over to grab the winner.

Speaking ahead of this deciding game, Captain of the Ghanaian team, Michael Isaac Aboagye, was grateful to his entire team for the superlative performance they have put up throughout this tournament which is an indication of the growth of the game in that country.

“Before we came to Nigeria for this qualifier, we had a unanimous decision of winning the competition as well as returning home unbeaten. We are not going to relent until victory is assured.

“Though we convincingly defeated Nigeria in our first game, I however immediately warned my teammates that it will be foolhardy of us to continue to bask in the euphoria of defeating Nigeria because Saturday’s game is the most important match of our career. We are focused as a team and remained determined to complete the business on Saturday,” stressed the Ghanaian captain.

Coach of the Nigerian team, Utte Ogbimi, who was disappointed with his wards for conceding victory to the Ghanaian last Tuesday has however put all that behind him to focus on the all important winner takes all clash on Saturday.

“The Nigerian Cricket Federation has provided all we need to excel at this tournament and all we can do to compensate the great efforts put in by the NCF Board in organising this competition is to win it and in doing so, we have to avenge the first leg loss to Ghana and restore the confidence of our teeming fans that have supported us all the way,” reasoned Ogbimi yesterday ahead of the Saturday clash.

Going into Saturday’s match, players to watch out for from the Ghanaian squad include: Michael Isaac Aboagye (Captain), Julius Horlali Mensah (Wicket Keeper), Peter Ananya, James Vifah, Rexford Bakum, David Ankrah, Kofi Bagabena, Awe Awiah, Simon and Vincent Ateak.

Nigerian players expected to be on parade are: Chimezie Onwuzulike (Captain), Joshua Ayannaike (Wicket Keeper), Ademola Onikoyi, Dotun Olatunji, Saheed Akolade, Isaac Okpe, Shola Anyia, Sulaimon Runsewe, Taiwo Mohammed, Bimbo Adu, Sylvester Okpe and Seye Olympio.

Based on this star cast that would be on parade for their respective teams on Saturday, and the huge importance attached to this fixture, cricket fans are in for superb bowling, inspired batting, exquisite wicket keeping and eye-popping catches in this winner takes all clash.