CRICKET: Coach Uthe Ogbemi Reflects on Nigeria’s Failed T20 World Cup Qualification Bid

Nigeria will miss the historic chance of playing at the ICC T20 International Cricket World Cup playoff to be hosted in the United Arab Emirates in October through November 2019 after finishing third behind Namibia and Kenya at the recently concluded World Cup African Qualifiers in Uganda.

The Yellow Greens rallied from their day 1 loss to Kenya by eight (8) wickets to beat Botswana and Ghana by nine (9) and twenty-eight (28) runs respectively but torrential rainfall will later deny the team a chance to prove their mettle against Namibia and hosts Uganda as the games were called off and points shared by the sides affected.

Namibia and Kenya were granted the two qualification slots on offer on the basis of games already played.

Head Coach of the team, Uthe Ogbemi expressed disappointment at Nigeria’s exit while sounding optimistic of the future.

“We prepared well in Zimbabwe and thought we missed the Kenya game by whiskers. The momentum from the win against Botswana and Ghana meant we looked forward strong showing against Namibia and Uganda but the rain halted that plan. We look forward to the future with hope,” he reflected.

Ogbemi further pointed out reasons for the team’s exit including the lack of turf wickets in Nigeria and the difficulty of players to easily adapt to new wickets.  

“Major drawback to consistent batting prowess is the lack of turf wickets in Nigeria. Players will always need to acclimatize on tour and it takes different period for different players to assess fully the nature of the wicket on tour and apply themselves successfully under competition pressure.”

The host, UAE and 13 countries including Scotland, Ireland, Oman, Zimbabwe, Hong Kong will battle in UAE for final spots at the World Cup scheduled for 2020 in Australia.