By Ijeoma Okigbo
Blessing Etim, Captain of Nigeria’s women cricket team, says the inclusion of more coaches to the team’s technical bench will spur the team to victory.
Etim stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Gaborone ahead of the International Cricket Council (ICC) T20 Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
She said that only a single technical staff was usually assigned to the team, but now, the team has four staff working with them.
“This is the first time in the history of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) that four coaches would be assigned to the women’s team to work with them, ahead of this event.
“The coaches are Onome Oghenekevwe (head coach), Theophilus Ibodeme (Asst. coach), Seye Olympio (physiotherapist) and Leke Oyede (Consultant coach).
“Their wealth of knowledge and experience has shaped our style of play throughout the five weeks we were in camp in Edo state.
“It is huge one for us and we are more prepared and optimistic to begin our campaign in the qualifiers as we look forward to victory,’’ Etim added.
This would be Nigeria’s third outing in the event and Etim, who had participated in the previous two, said they were more prepared for battle this time.
“The first qualifiers was in 2011 in Uganda; we were much younger and really mature in the game. We tried our best in 2019 Zimbabwe, but it wasn’t good enough.
“This time around, we are prepared better. We have worked on our challenges and improved on our mental and physical strength.
“Hopefully, we will not disappoint the country and the federation, especially Uyi Akpata, the immediate past vice president of the federation, who has been very supportive of the team.
“We hope for the best,’’ Etim, who is standing in as Captain for the absent Samantha Agazuma, nursing a knee injury she sustained earlier, added.
Nigeria, in group B, begins her campaign against Sierra Leone on Thursday before meeting Namibia, Uganda, and Cameroon.
Group A comprises host Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Only one team is expected to qualify from the 11-nation tournament beginning on Thursday, Sept. 9. (NAN)