By: JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Head Coach of the country’s U-19 cricket team, Uthe Ogbimi on Tuesday expressed confidence in the team’s outing for the International Cricket Council competition in South Africa.
Ogbimi told newsmen in Kaduna that his confidence was stemmed on the team’s level of preparations to excel at the tournament.
The coach noted that his confidence in the team was high, adding that they had good performances in the pre-tournament outings.
“There’s no fear because they have what they need in the team. We have high hopes because we started training early in June nearly 50 days in camp and have put in so much with the support of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF).
“The boys have applied themselves to the training diligently and are determined to get the job done in South Africa where they will meet with players from 10 different countries,’’ he said.
He added that the team hopes to qualify to Division One, so that they can increase their tempo and qualify to go for the World Cup.
“Sufficient work has been done to qualify to Division One because at the last competition, we missed out narrowly by coming third where only two countries were needed but now we have high hopes.
“We played 13 friendly matches with selected Kaduna sides where five senior national players are from, and out of the 13 friendly matches, 11 were completed, two rained off.
“We won seven and lost three, this shows their level of competency in the game and that has allowed us to sort out different roles for all players and we will try to work on their strengths more,’’ he informed.
Ogbimi said the team would continue with its preparations by playing the Ugandan team that is ahead of the country in the World Cricket series.
“Uganda is ahead of us and are in Division Three, while we are aspiring to move out of Africa region into Division Five.
According to him, the choice of Uganda is a good one to further test their players and have good opposition.
“Their U-19 cricket players are already in Division One, so we want to play with them to also boost our performance before the commencement of the tournament.
Also, the team manager, Joe Oche-Onoja said that arrangement was on for the team.
He, however, thanked the NCF President, Yahaya Ukwenya, and the Vice-President, Uyi Akpata, for their support to ensure smooth camping in Kaduna.
The competition, scheduled to take place in South Africa, will run from August 6 to 17 with eleven countries participating.
From among the participating countries, three are expected to qualify to Division One.