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Technology has helped improve cricket in Africa, says Shah

By Guardian Nigeria
27 June 2022   |   2:02 am
Meet Shah, co-founder of CricHeroes, an online cricket scoring app, said technology has improved the development of cricket in Africa.

cricket. Photo:Getty Image

Meet Shah, co-founder of CricHeroes, an online cricket scoring app, said technology has improved the development of cricket in Africa.

Shah said this at the maiden Africa Cricket Roundtable discussion, with focus on development opportunities, hosted by @TheMiddleStump2 on twitter.

Shah said the numbers via the app, shows global sponsors would be heading towards Africa in no distant time.

“I work with Africa zone for few years and mostly with the affiliated countries like Sierra Leone and few others. We help them manage cricket operations through technology. There’s a handsome growth in the continent in terms of players, fans etc and we can see it in the numbers.

“In 2021, there were 260 leagues, 12,000 new players registered and about 3000 matches played. With just six months into 2022, the numbers have increased significantly more than twice. These numbers mean more opportunities for stakeholders in cricket, from grassroots to the top level.

“My best prediction, looking at these numbers is that it is a good sign for global companies to invest in Cricket in Africa. In no distant time, organizations would jostle to bid for broadcasting rights for the leagues in associate countries of ICC and give more experience to the fans to watch the games,” Shah said.

On the issue of numbers, president of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Uyi Akpata, said the country is aimed at reaching two million new entrants in the sport in five years.

Meanwhile, Nigeria was recently awarded the ICC Cricket4Good Social Impact Initiative of the year for using the game as a tool for engaging and assisting in the development of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in the country.

Akpata said the initiative, which was piloted by the Edo State Cricket Association and PETS Foundation, has now been adopted by the NCF and is a template to reach more disadvantaged kids in the country.

“Earlier, we set out to go about our normal developmental plan of reaching 250,000 people in the sport annually, we know that getting the huge number would be having partnerships with schools. We identified that within a school in an IDP camp, we can potentially reach 3000 people, so initially, we were trying to reach the 250,000 number which is one of our strategic imperatives, before the opportunity presented itself. Within two to three years, we have reached out to 1000 direct players in camp and about 3000 indirect persons.

“Recently, players from the IDP camp participated in the Edo State Cricket Schools competition. The template has been established and NCF has adopted it and the aim is that, within the next five years, we will reach out to two million persons in disadvantage communities,” Akpata added.

Women’s representative on the board of the Uganda Cricket Association, Rita Tinka, also tasked federations in the continent on the need for collaboration.

“We should focus on coaches and players’ placement and educational programs using cricket as a tool. The collaboration I am taking about is a holistic one, where our coaches can be attached to a country that is technically sound than yours or invite coaches to your country to learn a thing or two from them. We could also have players participate in leagues outside their countries and be exposed to skills that they are not used to.

“We should be able to do an evidence-based research to see where we need to improve. This will be good for players and coaches development,” Tinka said.

On his part, Ladi Sonaike, a level three ECB coach and assistant coach of the Germany Women’s national team, advocated for equal visibility for the men and women’s cricket.

“To promote the game of cricket, we would not be needing just the media alone, for me, it’s two fold.

“Equal space to the men and the women. For the women, we need to give it the right space and the right airtime.

“We want to see cricket play irrespective of the race, gender, alone. The next big thing is when cricket becomes an Olympic sport but emphasis should not to be on the male alone.

“The male should have same exposure as the men. It needs to be on a space of its own,” Sonaike reiterated. Eight countries participated in the Eighth Kwibuka Cricket Tournament in Kigali and president of the Rwanda Cricket Association, Stephen Musaale, who was part of the session, said he was satisfied with the standard of the game, while appreciating participants at the event.

The next session for the Africa Cricket Roundtable is billed for July 10.