The Nigeria baseball team has reiterated its desire to make it to the 2020 Olympic Games to be staged in Tokyo, Japan.
To make this dream a reality, the team will be travelling to Accra, Ghana on Tuesday to participate in the Africa West One qualifiers for 2020 Olympic Games.
Since 2008, Softball and Baseball events were removed from the list of events at the Olympics, but the sport is making a return at the 2020 Games having been restored recently by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.
At the Africa West One qualifiers, Nigeria will be battling it out against host Ghana, Tunisia, Cote D’Ivoire and Burkina Faso with two of them qualifying for the final round scheduled for South Africa in May.
Speaking during a media parley in Lagos on Monday, the Development Secretary of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association, Adeola Omotosho, said the players are in high spirit for the competition expected to take place from March 22 to 24.
“We have been in camp for the past two weeks in Ilorin and the players are rearing to go,” he said.
“45 players were initially invited and were later trimmed to 30 and then we selected 20 players that will be travelling to Ghana on Tuesday.
“The key thing for us is to qualify for the final round where one country will qualify to play against the best from Europe for the sole slot reserved for Europe/Africa.”
On his part, the Team Manager, Joseph Ogunseye, said they are confident of a good outing in Ghana. He also revealed that the Nigeria team is set for a big boost as a player from Germany, Jimi Kolawole, who plays for Carpi will be flying in for the qualifiers in Ghana.
He also revealed that only the men will be competing in Ghana as the women already qualified for the final round in South Africa.
Mr Ogunseye added: “The technical crew have done their best to select the best legs for the qualifiers and we are hopeful of getting the ticket.”
For Twaki Sunday who is the captain of the Nigeria Baseball team, he assured that he and his teammates will not let the country down.
“We are going to do our very best because we all want to be at the Olympics,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials of the Nigeria Baseball and Softball Association have made a passionate appeal for support as they begin in their quest to qualify for the Olympics.
They called on corporate bodies and the government to invest in the team as they have been sponsoring themselves through personal contributions from the board members and other club owners in the country.