Saturday, July 02, 2022

Cricket Will Take Kids Off the Street - Akpata

The President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Mr. Uyi Akpata, has said that one of the goals of his team when fully implemented will help in reducing the number out of school children and create employment opportunities.

Akpata made the statement at the ongoing 3rd PricewaterhouseCoopers National Under 17 Cricket Championship at MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.

“This event is part of the five-pronged strategic imperatives that the NCF is building its development on, which are; promotion of the game at all levels, upgrading infrastructures, building strategic partnerships, training and retraining of staffs and players and ensuring corporate governance," Akpata said.

The NCF president said all the parts are interdependent and key to ensuring healthy growth being targeted at ultimately making Nigeria one of the powerhouses of cricket in the short term.

“Our goal is to get over 250,000 kids into the game this year and we have officers in all the 36 states fully equipped to get that going. This under 17 finals is a product of all the work these officers have been doing in the past 12 months. Recruitment and training at each zone were done, where over 784 players qualified to take part in the regional events across the six geo-political zones to have these ones battling the for the final spots,” he also said.

Akpata said aside from cricket being actively played in Nigeria, the country now has six turf wickets, two of which the ongoing championship is being played on, and more are planned for other regions to help harmonize the standard of play in the country.

“Apart from getting more cricketers to use the international standard turf wickets, the building of the turf wickets will provide more jobs for people as groundsmen. Today our first set of groundsmen that built the existing wickets are already consulting for other countries who see Nigeria’s turf solution as a breakthrough and want to build one or be trained to build theirs.”

According to Akpata, the ongoing championship will help handlers of the national under 19 team to have options of players to be invited when the camp eventually opens later in the year.

The 3rd PwC National Under 17 National Championship for boys and girls will be rounded off on Sunday in Abuja.


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