Nigeria has been awarded the International Cricket Council best Global Impact rating award for the tremendous achievement of the Nigeria Cricket Federation in using sports to promote youth and social development.
This information was contained in the message delivered to the Minister of Youth and Sport Development, Sunday Dare, on Tuesday, when top officials of the International Cricket Council visited him in his office in Abuja ahead of the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup Africa Division 2 qualifiers to be hosted at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja from Friday, September 30th, 2022.
ICC Global Development Manager William Glenwright and Patricia Karambami, head of Africa Development, were led by the President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi Akpata on the visit.
Elated by the recognition of the strides made by the ICC, the Minister appreciated them for their support, “As a government, we are thankful to the ICC for the recognition and for granting Nigeria the rights to host the U19 World Cup Qualifiers.”
He also commended the Federation on their developmental efforts, “I also want to commend the leadership of the NCF for being deliberate, strategic and tactical with their programmes.
“These outlined programmes also speak to the core mandate of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development. As we develop sports, we also ensure there is youth development.”
In his earlier remarks, Glenwright, who had visited cricket facilities in Lagos and Edo States before the visit to the Honourable Minister said: “The ICC is pleased with Nigeria and wants to commend the sports authorities for these achievements. Surely, Nigeria has now opened itself up for more support from the ICC for the expansion of the sport in Nigeria.”
Adding that, “Nigeria’s rising profile in cricket has been amazing. The progress made by the sport in Nigeria needs to be studied and the template adopted for some other countries.
“How Nigeria moved from the almost zero awareness and low commitment to the sport a few years ago to being a force and a country that is now qualifying for the World Cup is remarkable.”
Nigeria Cricket Federation President, Uyi Akpata at the meeting informed that his team had set the ambitious goal of cricket recruitment of 250, 000 kids which is being met through strategic implementation and the enabling environment that the ministry had encouraged.
His words: “We thank the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development for providing a conducive environment for the development of Cricket in Nigeria. Nigeria is one of the two countries in the world with the fastest growth rate for cricket. Nigeria is number one in the world in the ICC Global Impact rating. We moved the game to the IDPs and got about 250, 000 youth involved in the sport.
“The number one State in Nigeria for Cricket is Zamfara State and most of those involved in the sport are women.
“We have been strategic, very deliberate and also tactical in our approach and that explains the results we have been getting.
“The ICC gave us the rights to host the U19 World Cup Qualifiers because of the giant strides we have taken in Cricket in recent times and the support we have received from the Ministry.
“The encouragement and charge of the Minister that we should engage private sector support also helped us a great deal.”
Nigeria and and seven other countries are participating in the World Cup qualifiers.
The other participants, already in Abuja are Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Ghana and Kenya.