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ICC chiefs arrive as participants jet in tomorrow

By Ernest Nzor, Abuja
26 September 2022   |   3:51 am
Some top officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) have arrived in Nigeria, at the weekend, on a working visit. The officials, including ICC General Manager, Development, William Glenwright, and Development Manager, Africa, Patricia Kambarami.

• LOC declare Nigeria ready for tournament
Some top officials of the International Cricket Council (ICC) have arrived in Nigeria, at the weekend, on a working visit. The officials, including ICC General Manager, Development, William Glenwright, and Development Manager, Africa, Patricia Kambarami.

Their visit coincides with the ICC U-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup African Division 2 Qualifier, which will start on Friday.

The two ICC officials, who are in Lagos, will also visit Edo State and Abuja in a trip that is tied to the upswing in cricket activities and cricket development index in the country.

Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) President, Uyi Akpata, said while the two activities are happening at two separate ends of the country, they are linked.

“Nigeria’s recent developmental effort has aroused global interest and the consistent churning of positive data to back active engagement in the sport means that we will continue to get visits like this.

“Like never before, we have had dedicated promoters of the game, starting from the board of the Nigeria Cricket Federation and the audacious 250, 000 yearly enrolment target for new cricketers across the country too has seen our grassroots developmental team perform at unprecedented rate,” Akpata said.

Nigeria has won three consecutive international awards in the last four years, including the Global 2022 Best ICC Social Impact Programme, which was awarded for the works done with cricket as a tool for social change at the Internally Displaced People’s camp in Edo State.

Glenwright and Karambami will be touching base with a number of cricket initiatives across the country while they are in Nigeria.

MEANWHILE, Sierra Leone has been announced as the first of the seven teams that will be arriving the country between tomorrow and Wednesday for the U-19 men’s qualifier.

Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Ghana, Mozambique and Botswana have all confirmed their arrival for Wednesday, where they all will be joining Nigeria to fight for the three spots available for Division 1 World Cup Qualifier from September 30 to October 8th, 2022.

Akpata said the hosting of the ICC event is another feat the country has not taken lightly because of the facility and human capital that had to be put in place for it to happen.

“These are not mean feats and we are delighted to be seen for our potentials and human capitals investments and hopefully soon too, our cricket talents,” he added.

Nigeria’s maiden Cricket World Cup qualification was achieved with the Men’s U-19 team and the Federation says the team is primed for a good outing when the tournament starts later in the week.

At the weekend, the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the tournament affirmed that the country is ready to host the rest of Africa in Abuja.

Chairman of the Committee, Ogbonnaya Okogeri, said in Abuja, at the weekend, that all is now set for the tournament.

He said: “Two pitches have been designated for the matches. So, two games will be going on simultaneously daily.

“The arrival time for the teams is September 28; September 29 will be a rest day, while the competition will begin on September 30 with two games. We will have another rest day on October 4 before the semifinals and finals. The tournament ends on October 9.”

Okogeri disclosed that Nigeria has been training for the past two months for the competition, adding that the country has been at the forefront of cricket development in Africa since 2019, 2020 and 2021.