The Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) has named a 26-man list for the three-day World English Scrabble Players Association Championship (WESPAC) qualifiers, which begins today in Sapele, Delta State.
Players from Warri Scrabble Club, Benin Scrabble Club and Yenagoa Scrabble Club dominate the players’ list released by the NSF for the July tourney slated to hold in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Warri Scrabble Club has six players, while Benin Scrabble Club and Yenagoa Scrabble Club have four players each on the list. Players from Apex SC, Central Scrabble Club, Abuja, Shell Scrabble Club, Surulere SC, Abeokuta Scrabble Club, Unilag SC, Pyramid Scrabble Club of Lagos and Sapele Scrabble Club make up the list.
Out of the 26 players, 23 are men. They include double National Sports Festival gold medalist, Malafakumo Best Akpos, Bukunmi Afolayan and Tuoyo Mayuku.
Former African and world champion, Wellington Jighere, who is also the current national number one player, as well as the highest ranked African in the world at the moment, is the biggest name on the list.
Other players are current African champion, Enoch Nwali, two-time African champion, Dennis Ikekeregor, 2004 African champion, Nsikak Etim and Wale Fashina, who won the African Championship in 1998.
Also among players jostling for inclusion in the final squad are current West African champion, Eta Karo, Doko Oluwatimilehin, Prince Omosefe, Oshevire Avwengha, who captained Team Nigeria to the last African Scrabble Championship in Lusaka, champion of champions, Olatunde Oduwole, Emmanuel Umujose, Emmanuel Ofidi, Cyril Umebiye and Okiemute Tega.
Ben Quickpen, Jimoh Abdulmumin, Ezinore George, Joseph Aniso, Victor Godwin, Hakeem Olaribigbe, David Yuwa, Anthony Odok and Vincent Munanyo complete the 26-man list.
Some players have been placed on standby. They are Precious Igali, Jacob Ryan, James Ewruje and Olufemi Gbadebo.
According to the technical director of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF), John Curtis, explained that the top 20 players in the NSF ranking, along with six wild cards that include women players are part of the list.
Curtis explained at the end of the three-day qualifiers, the best 10 players would be selected to represent Team Nigeria at the World Championship in America, which will hold from July 22 to 26.