The Nigeria Cricket Federation has announced that former U19 captain Sylvester Okpe will captain the national team at the ICC T20 World Cup Africa Qualifiers taking place from 15 to 21 November 2021 in Rwanda.
Okpe was named as the team’s leader in the final 14-man list released by the NCF for the qualifying tournament.
Former captain Joshua Ayannaike who has also made the team voluntarily stepped down from the role “due to other commitments surrounding his work and study” the NCF said in a statement.
Okpe’s elevation marks yet another high mark in his budding career after he led the U19 side to become the first Nigerian team to qualify for an ICC World Cup at the U19 World Cup in 2020.
The 14-man list for the African qualifiers follows the just concluded T20i Bilateral series between Nigeria and Sierra Leone, where Nigeria emerged runaway winners by 5 games to 1.
Familiar faces return to the squad creating a balance of youth and experience with several members of the U19 World Cup team including Okpe, Peter Aho, Rasheed Abolarin and Samuel Mba all making the cut.
Segun Olayinka and Ademola Onikoyi, two of Nigeria’s longest-serving players have been recalled while staples like Isaac Okpe and Ayannaike are also listed. Ridwan Kareem who made his senior debut during the Bilateral Series with Sierra Leone will also feature with bowling prodigy, Prosper Useni completing the list.
The NCF will hope Okpe’s appointment will provide the lucky charm much as it did for the U19 side as Nigeria bids to pick the sole qualification ticket for the World Cup.
Complete Team list:
- Ashmit Shrestha
- Segun Olayinka
- Samuel Mba
- Sesan Adedeji
- Gim Daniel
- Onikoyi Ademola
- Joshua Ayannaike
- Isaac Okpe
- Sylvester Okpe – Captain
- Peter Aho
- Chima Akachukwu
- Rasheed Abolarin
- Ridwan Kareem
- Prosper Useni