Minister of sports, Barrister Solomon Dalung has described as a timely ‘transition gift’ the historic ICC World Cup qualification that was picked recently by Nigeria’s under-19 cricket team in Windhoek, Namibia.
Dalung admitted that the Junior Yellow Greens achieved the feat against all odds, as they faced financial issues before heading out for the competition and they faced top favourites.
He, however, noted that the valiant Nigerian spirit was again at work in the players and coaches, hence their determination to excel, adding that he is happy to see sports excelling internationally during his tenure.
Dalung recalled that, in three and half years, Nigerian athletes had won over 700 medals, but admitted that funding had been the bane of sports in the country.
The sports minister stated as much during a modest reception organised by the ministry for the team, during which Dalung also praised officials of Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) for enacting another historic feat.
He added: “The success of the national U-19 Cricket team coming at this transition period of this administration is one of the greatest packages I have received as a minister in this Ministry.
“The face of sports has changed within three and half years, despite those who have inundated the social media.
“Trying to contradict the narrative that sports in Nigeria has taken its proper place globally. This is another historic feat in 100 years.
“After D’Tigress made history by being the first African team to qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals in 100 years.
“The Junior Yellow Greens had beaten another 100 year-record by qualifying for the ICC U-19 World Cup since 1904.
“Nothing would have brought this kind of revolution in sports apart from the democratisation of the national sports federations.”