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Nigerian nightmares

Nigerian nightmares
BADLY BEATEN: The Baggy Blues

U/19 men’s cricket team humiliated in West Africa

Following the senior side’s impressive showing in South Africa last month, when they reached the Africa T20 Cup semi-finals, hopes were high the U/19 men’s cricket team would follow suit in Nigeria.

Sadly, this proved to be anything but the case.

The Baggy Blues were soundly thrashed in all three of their International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup Africa Division Two matches, leaving Abuja with neither points nor pride.

Taking on the hosts in their opening fixture, Botswana suffered a humiliating 10-wicket defeat, Nigeria needing just 10.5 overs of their allotted 50 to reach their 58-run target.

Fortunes barely improved in their next encounter, against Sierra Leone, with Team BW’s batting line-up once again stumbling, bowled out for just 66 on their way to an eight-wicket loss.

Batting first again in their third and final fixture, this time against Rwanda, the local lads stuttered to a total of 94. Finally showing some resistance in the field, the bowlers claimed four wickets and made their opponents sweat for the victory, which eventually came in the 33rd over.

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Admitting he was stumped by the boys’ dreadful showing in West Africa, Botswana Cricket Association (BCA) Vice Chairman, Sumod Damador stressed he would be looking into what went wrong.

“For now I can’t give you reasons to what might have caused the team to perform poorly at the tournament. I am waiting for the team to return back to Botswana so the technical team can give us a full report on the overall performance,” explained Damodar when batting away questions from Voice Sport.

Although he was reluctant to make excuses, cricket’s second in command said the build-up the tournament was far from ideal, with the squad’s preparations limited to a week-long training camp in Zimbabwe.

“One of the reasons our squad performed poorly was that we were working with athletes who were still in school. The only suitable time to engage with them was on weekends, which was insufficient,” stated Damodar.

In the end, Kenya won the eight-team tournament, edging out Nigeria in a closely contested final on Saturday. The two nations qualified for the Africa Division One WC qualifiers, set for Namibia in March next year, where they will be joined by Sierra Leone who finished third.

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