It was an emotional moment in Lagos on Sunday as the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) presented players that will represent the country at the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 taking place in South Africa from January 20 to February 8, 2020 to the media.
The Nigerian team will participate at the tournament for the first time.
Vice President of NCF, Mr. Uyi Akpata, who supervised the presentation, said the team had been psychologically and mentally prepared for the 20-day event.
“Never before has a Nigerian cricket team being shaped the way these players have and I believe they are ready to make Nigeria proud in South Africa,” Akpata said with conviction.
“The fact that the team is departing Lagos today for Johannesburg to embark on a 50-day preparation for the World Cup says everything about our ambition to excel there,” the NCF official also said.
According to Akpata, the team will play several pre-tournament matches against some South African top clubs to put the players in top shape ahead of the World Cup.
“Initially, we planned a training tour of India. But we shelved it because of the logistics and its closeness to the World Cup and the fact that we are sure we would still get what we desire at our South African camp,” Akpata further said.
Team Captain, Sylvester Okpe, said the squad would get into the World Cup mindful of the hopes of 200million Nigerians back home.
“From the day we qualified for this World Cup, myself and team mates knew we must not disappoint Nigerians and I can only say they should expect the best performance from us at the tournament,” Okpe concluded.