…Nigeria Scrabble Federation pleads for a second chance
By Maxwell Kumoye
One of the strongest and talented members of Team Nigeria to the World Scrabble Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, Oluwatimilehin Doko has been denied visa by the US embassy in Nigeria.
This sad news was made public by the President of Nigeria Scrabble Federation (NSF) Engineer Toke Aka, in a chat with your authoritative news channel FIRST ZEALMEDIACAST BLOG on Saturday.
“Even though we are thankful that virtually all members of the Team got visas, one of our strongest youth player a 400 level pharmacy student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and national number four player, Oluwatimilehin Doko was denied visa.” The NSF President lamented.
He went on to say that; “We believe he was wrongfully stereotyped. This is a player who came out amongst the top 5 in Accra, Ghana last year during the West African Scrabble Championship and qualified for the African Scrabble Championship in Zambia but missed out due to his passport being held up in Bayelsa State during last years flood. We just hope this does not dampen the young man’s morale.” Engineer Toke Aka added.
The news that Doko was denied visa has been spreading like wild fire and it has left the Scrabble community in Nigeria and the continent devastated as most persons who spoke with First Zealmediacast Blog strongly believe that his absence will be a massive blow to Team Nigeria and the African contingent heading to the World Championship.
WHO IS OLUWATIMILEHIN DOKO
His journey to make the Team Nigeria’s squad to World Scrabble Championship started early last year.
In February 2022, the player was in Kano State to compete for honours at the Kano National Open Championship sponsored by Austin Isiekwe of Austin Isiekwe and Co Accounting Firm.
The next port of call was Ibadan State for the IGP National Open in March the same year. Asaba, Delta State came calling in April 2022.
Again, the ancient city of Ibadan played host to another Scrabble Championship, the South-West Close and Doko was brilliant.
At all these competitions, one name kept popping up, that is the player in focus, Doko Oluwatimilehin ‘The New Kid on the Block.
Oluwatimilehin a 400 level student of pharmacy of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) made the final cut for the qualifiers in Sapele in Delta State, South South of Nigeria in January.
Doko Oluwatimilehin joined the qualifiers because of his national ranking as national number four player.
‘The New Kid on the Block’ who started playing scrabble in 2017 made it to the top ten in the pool of thirty-two players during the Qualifiers.
The young player with a big heart will surely do more than ruffle some feathers in Las Vegas when the competition starts.
As a second timer on the international space ‘The New Kid on the Block’ will benefit from some pep talk from coach Prince Anthony Ikolo to weather the storm.
HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR DOKO:
His first tournament was the maiden edition of the board games tournament organized by the Osayuwamen Saleh Foundation International (OSFI) in 2017 which he won.
The next edition in 2018 was also won by him and a year later Doko Oluwatimilehin won the Mind Games Incorporated (MGI) Qualifiers tournament. Since then he has been a big hit challenger in most events he participated in.
The student who is enjoying some cool breeze and the spot light has other crowns in his name. He won the West Africa University Games Scrabble Championship.
The player currently has 1714 rating points and his presence in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA will be a huge plus for Team Nigeria and is also clear testimony and indication that the younger generation are ready to the change the narrative in the gruelling word game that sharpens the intellect.
For Timi Doko, the trip to USA is not a learning curve but a platform to tell the WORLD that the Eagle has landed and the New Kid on the Block has become a Kid on the THRONE.