NCF women cricketers ready for Rwandan challenge in Abuja
The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) at the weekend revealed that all is set for the first bilateral meeting of the nation’s cricket women team with their Rwandan counterparts, who will begin a one-week tour of the country from January 23 to January 30, 2019 in Abuja.
The Tour is the first leg of a bilateral international friendly series between the countries and would hold at the newly constructed turf wicket pitch inside the national stadium in Abuja. The return leg is schedule for June 2019 in Kigali.
NCF President, Professor Yahaya Adam Ukwenya said the development was a major achievement for Nigerian cricket and a pointer that the strides being made back home by the Federation is getting noticed across the continent.
“The relationship we have with Rwandan Cricket is the first of its kind for Nigerian cricket and it is mutually beneficial. We are looking forward to extending it in all ramifications, by exploring different ways we can leverage to grow the game on the field, including technical and the management capacities for both federations. We also hope the effect would impact the growth of the game across the continent,” he said.
In preparation for the Tour, the Nigeria female national team has been camped in Kaduna State for the last three weeks for players to jostle for slots in the team that will engage the Rwandan team in the six encounters scheduled during the visit.NCF’s First Vice President, Uyi Akpata said the Rwandan tour of Nigeria provides an opportunity for the national female team to be tested in skill and depth ahead of the busy schedule they have this year.
“We had 24 players camped in Kaduna with the full technical team to train, select and possibly inject newness in the national female team that we are preparing for major events later in the course of the year,” he said.To shore-up credibility of the encounter, the NCF said it has also invited technical officials from Ghana to be part of the technical team for the Series, adding that the Ghana Cricket Association has acknowledged and confirmed the availability of their officials.
Among other things, the Rwandan Tour will also boost the growing interest in female cricket across the country with 25 states currently involved in grassroots development as well as active participation at intermediary and senior levels. Most of the players currently in camp are drawn from the National Youth Games for U-15, The National U-17 girl’s championship and the National Women’s Championship across the country.
The Rwandan tour of Nigeria will see the visiting team take on the home side on six different occasions, including two ODI 40 overs matches and Three T-20 matches.The NCF has also revealed that for the first time, the national women team has also been invited by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to take part in the ICC Women’s World Cup Africa qualifier later in the year in Zimbabwe. It added that the bilateral series with Rwanda is path of the preparation for the tournament.