Nigeria’s Under-19 male cricket team, the Junior Yellow-Green, won their first game at the ongoing qualifiers for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, after two–successive defeats in their opening three games.
The team fell to Sierra Leone and Uganda in their first two games before scrapping up a 42 runs victory over host Tanzania, to soothe their disappointed fans who had banked on a bright outing for the team due to their pre-tournament ranking.
Daniel Gim, Coach of the Nigerian side, confirmed that there had been anxiety among the players after bungling their chance and the expectations back home.
“There was pressure after the two loses. This victory, I believe, will boost their confidence and help them chart a new focus in their remaining games.”
A brilliant batting effort from Solomon Chilemaya paved the way for Nigeria’s victory.
He had 66 runs (not out) off 80 balls, an effort that also stabilised the crumbling batting order, in the first inning.
Damian Okeke and Ridwan Abdulkareem posted 15 and 16 runs respectively, as the other double figures for Nigeria to set the team up for a 149 total in the counter.
In the second innings, Nigeria was able to curtail the East African line-up to a 107 all-out in 48 overs.
Endurance Ofem, the player’s representative on the Board of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, believes that the players might not meet the expectations in the performance so far, but the team has shown dedication.
“It was obviously a difficult playing condition there and not the kind of result the players hoped for.
“This was why there was pressure on the team. They now have to raise the stake in their remaining game.”
Nigeria’s next two games are against Kenya and Namibia on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The Qualifier is for the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup billed for Sri Lanka in 2024. Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Tanzania, and Kenya are vying for a sole slot from the event. The event would be concluded on Sunday.