USA Today High School Sports

A 23-man contingent (20 players and 3 officials) of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball team departed the shores of the country on Tuesday for the West Zone 1 Olympics qualifier billed for Labone Senior High School, Accra, Ghana from March 22 to 24, 2019.

A total of 17 countries in Africa have been divided into four zones and Nigeria will compete in Zone West 1 alongside Ghana, Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Cote d’Ivoire.

Two teams will then qualify from the group to play in the Africa Cup and Olympic Qualifier in Boksburg, South Africa from May 1-5. The winner of this continental championship will then move on to compete with the best of Europe at the Europe-Africa Olympic Qualifier in Bologna and Parma, scheduled for September 18-22.

Whoever emerge winner will get the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games sole ticket reserved for Europe/Africa.

In a chat, the Secretary, Technical Commission of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA), Adeola Omotosho, said the best players were selected after a thorough screening.

“Our players have been in clamp close to two weeks preparing for the West Zone 1 Olympics qualifier. We have 45 players selected from 10 states in Nigeria where we have Baseball being played. After screening, they were reduced to 30, then to 20 that will be representing Nigeria in Ghana,” Omotosho said.

Team manager, Olusola Ogunseye, who called for more support for the team, said a foreign-based players, Jimmy Kolawole who plays for Carpi in Germany will also join the team.

“We are very optimistic to qualify if we have the necessary support from government, well meaning individual, private sector to help us project this game. We have been sponsoring ourselves through personal contributions from the board members and other club owners in the country,” Ogunseye said.

Captain of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball team, Sunday Twaki says the players are in high spirit as they begin quest for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics ticket.

“The players are in high spirit and by the grace of God, we are going to pick the ticket for the next stage in South Africa. We appreciate the technical crew members who have done their best in selecting the right players. We are ready to do the country proud in Ghana because we know what is at stake,” Twaki said.

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