The International Cricket Council has confirmed that the sport’s World Cup trophy will arrive Abuja, Nigeria at noon on Monday to begin a three-day Tour of the country as part of the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.
Despite not being eligible to participate in the World Cup in the United Kingdom later in June, Nigeria has been picked as one of the countries that the World Cup would visit, in recognition of her growing interest in the sport.
President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Yahaha Adam Ukwenya, a professor, who was elected the head of the body in June 2017, said he and his team could not have thought about this development when they assumed leadership of the federation 18 months ago.
“I believe we have communicated to the world how passionate our team is in several ways and how ready we are to grow in these few months that we have run Cricket as a new board and hence we earned this honour,” Ukwenya said.
The trophy which would be hosted in Abuja and Lagos would be received in Abuja by the Sports Minister, Barrister Solomon Dalung, after which it would be taken to some iconic places like the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Cultural Center and the Katampe Hills. in Lagos, the trophy would be received by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, after which it would be displayed at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval on Lagos Island.
“The tour of the World Cup Trophy is presently the biggest activity of world Cricket and Nigeria has been placed on that map by sheer effort of the dedicated people that make up the leadership of the Cricket Federation,” NCF Vice President, Mr. Uyi Akpata, said in Lagos on Sunday.
“This is the first time the World Cup Trophy is coming to this part of Africa and it is indeed a honour for us. We have a lot people in the Cricket community that have been yearning to have a taste of World Cup Trophy and we are working out a very fair ground that would be inclusive for all the groups represented in our diverse community in Nigeria who include students, diplomatic community, professionals, enthusiasts and sports fans,” Akpata added.
The Cable learnt that efforts of the new NCF board have seen Nigeria move from Division 2 to Division 1 in the Under-19 category and the unranked Women’s national team has been ranked 36th in World T-20 International.
The NCF also kicked off a grassroots development programme where over 3, 000 kids have been reached in 2018, with double that figure being targeted for 2019.
Lately, ICC also partnered with the NCF in a three-day Commercial Strategy and Development Workshop, delivered by the renowned CSM Sports Consultants for Middle-East and Africa. The workshop was targeted to rejig, review and re-assess the federation’s four-year strategic development goals, in which the team was already achieving its goals.
The World Cup trophy will depart Nigeria on Wednesday.