The Nigeria Cricket Federation on Sunday 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.
The vice president of NCF, Uyi Akpata, who made the presentation, said the team had been psychologically and mentally prepared for the 20-day event.
“Never before has a Nigerian cricket team been shaped the way these players have and I believe they are ready to make Nigeria proud in South Africa,” Akpata said.
“The fact that the team is departing Lagos today (Sunday) 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 Mr 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.
The team captain, Sylvester Okpe, said the squad would get into the World Cup mindful of the hopes of 200 million Nigerians back home.
“From the day we qualified for this World Cup, myself and teammates knew we must not disappoint Nigerians and I can only say they should expect the best performance from us at the tournament,” Okpe said.
The 2020 U-19 Cricket World Cup will be the 13th edition and the second to be held in South Africa. Sixteen teams will be taking part in the tournament, split into four groups of four.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the Super League, with the bottom two teams in each group progressing to the Plate League.
Nigeria will be campaigning from Group B where they have been housed with Australia England and the West Indies.
India are the defending champions of this competition.