Team Nigeria ends second screening phase in Lagos, set to defend world title in India
It was high level of competition at COWLSO Villa Hotel, Lekki, Ajah Lagos at the weekend when 26 top ranked players from all parts of Nigeria gathered to jostle for selection to the World English Scrabble Players Association Championship (WESPAC) slated to hold in Goa, India from October 15 to19, 2019.
The screening in Lagos, the second stanza, saw players playing 15 games from morning till evening daily for three days to ensure the best were picked for the world championship.
According to the Nigeria Scrabble Federation, based on Nigeria’s current ranking as the world’s best scrabble nation, strict measures were adopted to select the best players for Nigeria.
World scrabble champion, Wellington Jighere said he was working hard to pick one of the tickets for the world championship, adding, “The qualifying series has been tough.
“After holding the first edition in Rivers State, now we have finished Lagos and it has not been easy for the players, as we were made by the NSF to play more games against each other. I know if I qualified to represent the country again, all eyes will be on me in India. But I am not under any form of pressure.”
Also speaking at the event, national team coach, Anthony Ikolo said the 26 players would move to Benin later this month for the third stanza of the qualifiers.
He called on corporate bodies, state and federal governments to sponsor scrabble, saying that the Nigerian team is financially constrained to carry out its activities to better the lot of the players.
“ Every player will be made to play a least 120 games in total, the number of points accumulated will give the player a bright chance to be in India. The federation is calling for more sponsorship to grow the sports at all levels.
“After the final screening, a national camp will open and we need sponsors to assist the players play more games to be in high spirit to defend the world championship successfully,” Ikolo said.
Eleven players will be picked for the world championship after the final of the qualifying series in Rivers State.
Ikolo revealed that two players had already gotten a wild card ticket through the world scrabble body based on their top performance in international scrabble competitions in 2018.