Nigeria’s junior national cricket team, Junior Yellow Greens, will begin their chase for a Sri Lanka 2024 ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup ticket today at the University of Dar-es-Salaam (UDSM) Cricket Oval, Tanzania.
The eight-day event, which bowled off yesterday with a rain-washed doubleheader between host Tanzania and Kenya; on one hand and Namibia and Uganda, on the other, showed that weather could be a factor in deciding the series.
Nigeria’s coach, former national-team player, Daniel Gim, said his team is in good shape and looks forward to making the best of the talents that the team is made of.
“Mental preparation and game awareness are things we have been focusing on. Our bowling is our trump card. It should take us over the line with the trio of Prosper Useni, captain Ridwan Abdulkareem and Chiemelie Udekwe at the front.
“In a round-robin event, everyone is our rival, and we will tackle them as they come,” he said.
Only one World Cup ticket is being contested for by the six participating countries in Dar-es-Salaam. The teams include Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and host Tanzania.
Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) President, Uyi Akpata, who described the country’s team as a product of grassroots campaigns and unrelenting commitment from stakeholders to grow the game, said: “On the continents now, our efforts are being recognized, as more of our players are matching-up with the best.
“We have, on several occasions, rattled the existing powerhouses of the game and hence every team here is very wary of Nigeria at this event.
“On our part, we have presented a team that is solely homegrown, and a reflection of our best talents at the age category. We are more than confident we would be well-represented.”
Before moving to Tanzania for the competition, Nigeria had two-week drill at one of the best cricket facilities in India in May. They also took on a select Rwandan side in Kigali in a three-way ODI tune-up game where they won two and lost one.
Nigeria qualified for the final round of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup through a Division-2 qualifier held in Abuja in October 2022. Kenya and Sierra Leone also picked their slots from that event.