Saturday, July 02, 2022

NCF Facility Investment Is Underrated

While it may be too early to start raining applause on the four-year works of the present Cricket administration, it may worth the while to give thumbs-up for investment on the different ovals across the country. Though the many turfs that dot the country are not the the "81m category" ( for the initiated only), there has apparently been a conscious decision to improve facilities. A type of effort that I have not seen since Okon Ukpong took it upon himself to revive the Liberty Stadium Oval in Ibadan.
In all the effort that has been put to developmental cricket; equipment deployment, youth clinics and events, "catch them young" projects, facility development is one of the least discussed dynamic in the mix.

Of great importance is the manner of the upgrade and the spread across the country.
Benin's turf wicket development is a key element of the development puzzle; given the spate of interest the local league and continuous recruitment of young lads has been of late. Most of the new talents having the pleasure of starting out their cricket experience on a surface that offers international feel is an unprecedented development that may help our players to be better prepared for global challenges.
Kaduna Cricket community has been able to get the state government's commitment to reciprocate the Benin upgrade and perhaps on a higher dimension, that is being rumoured to include the construction of stands.

Side note: Kaduna supplied a high number of the talents that gave Nigeria Africa Division 1 ticket and eventually the U-19 World Cup qualification.
Given the role the state plays as a critical talent hub for the game; the new facility upgrade holds so much promise for the honing of skills and churning of new recruits into the game as well.
The Second pitch development at the package B section of MKO Abiola Stadium in Abuja and current upgrade on-going at the Tafawa Balewa Square TBS, in Lagos simultaneously is unquantifiable in value it adds to the league matches and international events they both host.
All national teams camps at either grounds and two of the most vibrant leagues in the country resuming after Covid break on those grounds make those initiatives highly understated.

While this is not an effort to patronize the Federation's upgrade agenda, it is an attempt to document the possible future implication of turning the sods at different ovals at times like this.
At the University of Lagos too, an equal effort is ongoing to shift the narrative as well; which naturally swells the options of pitches to host standard events in Lagos and the country at large.
As a new season beckons and 2021 dawns, it may suffice to say that the Federation might have flipped a switch that can turn a new episode in Nigeria's developments journey.


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