Baseball: Nigeria qualify for second stage of Olympic Africa qualifiers

The Nigeria Baseball team during their training in Ilorin (Credit Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association).
The Nigeria Baseball team during their training in Ilorin (Credit Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association).

Nigeria’s quest to make it to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games for the Baseball event is on track.

The country’s Baseball team on Sunday in Ghana qualified for the next phase of the Africa Olympic qualifiers slated for South Africa from May 1 to May 5.

The national team qualified alongside Burkina Faso from the Africa West One qualifiers.

Though Nigeria suffered a defeat against Burkina Faso in their opening match of the round-robin game on Friday in Accra, the team weathered the storm to pull through.

The team bounced back on Sunday to defeat host, Ghana by 7 runs to 6 and finished second behind Burkina Faso who won all their matches to grab the second qualification ticket in the zone.

Two other countries, Tunisia and Ivory Coast that were expected to take part in the zonal qualifiers were absent at the qualifiers.

Excited official

Speaking on the team’s qualification, Adeola Omotosho, the Development Secretary of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association (NBSA) said that it was a cheering news for the body.

Mr Omotosho, who is in Ghana with the team, said that more efforts would be put in place to prepare the team ahead for the next phase of qualifiers in South Africa.

“We are happy that the team was able to pick one of the slots at stake in our zone, the storm is not over yet because we have a major task ahead.

“A lot of work needs to be done on the team to prepare the players for the next stage of the qualifiers,” he said.

He commended the individuals who have supported the team so far and also appealed for more support from the government and private bodies.

Hurdle

The next hurdle for the Nigerian team is in South Africa where countries that picked the other slots in their respective zones would converge for the second phase of qualification.

Baseball is returning to the Olympic Games in 2020 having been expunged from the list of sporting events since the Beijing 2008 edition.

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