Dalung, Ambode To Receive Cricket World Cup Trophy
By Akanimo Kufre
The International Cricket Council, ICC World Cup Trophy on Monday arrive in Nigeria for its 3-day tour of one of four African countries. Nigeria is among 21 nations slated to host the coveted trophy leading up to the 2019 ICC World Cup finals tournament from May 30 to July 14 in Wales and England, the United Kingdom.
“You can see the past 18 months the progress we’ve made, this is what ICC want to see, recognize and identify with. Of course they’re also trying to reach a huge fan base.
200 million people in Nigeria, with lots of expatriate here means lots of business opportunities, sponsorship and potential players to develop to world class. A lot of things add up and most being trust form the decision of ICC to come to Nigeria. Most importantly the good corporate governance processes by current Nigeria Cricket Federation.” Players representative Endurance Ofem explained.
However information from the Secretary General of Nigeria Cricket Federation, NCF, Taiwo Oriss, states that the Minister of Sports, Solomon Dalung would receive the trophy on behalf of President Muhammad Buhari at the formal presentation of the trophy to the diplomatic community and cricket enthusiasts. On the Lagos State tour, Gov. Akinwumi Amobode, a social cricket player himself will receive the trophy at Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos Island on Wednesday 13th February 2019.
According to the NCF President Prof. Yahaya Adam Ukwenya the hosting of ICC World Cup trophy has wonderful implications.
“This is a wonderful story for us particularly not being a contender for the World Cup and not close for the contention for the World Cup yet we are picked as one of the destination for the World Cup trophy tour. Of course the implications are many. It is a major endorsement for us and secondly the coming of the trophy from ICC perspective is aimed at getting Nigerians come to behind Cricket. Not just a passing interest on the game but to increase participation and things like that.
We are also hoping that it will inspire this generation that we have become major players in the sport and taking us towards the World Cup no matter how difficult it is.
From the official schedule, the Minister for Youth and Sports Development, Bar. Dalung would be there to receive the trophy. Could this prompt his ministry to increase budget for Cricket sports across Nigeria?
“We can’t determine for the ministry what they should do. But the beauty about the whole issue is that for a very long time Nigerian Cricket has learned to manage itself like an orphan. This way we became stronger sourcing funds and not dependent and knowing what to do to keep even the international council interested in supporting us. So funds source from local and international sources has been our strong bone. We hope to continue to do strongly in this arena because for any sports to survive it cannot be 100 percent supported by government. Even though we hope that one day government will realize and show more than a passing interest in cricket sports operation, that we will receive a lot more support. Of course support does not always have to be Money and it must not only come from federal government. States governments have their role.
These support can be in form of providing landed facilities for the development of cricket. It could also be in ensuring that State athletes who are cricketers have their allowances paid. And they are sponsored to participate in cricket tournaments at least at inter state level. This will add up to the kind of government support we are looking for.”
Some years ago ICC expected NIGERIA to increase participation and players data base . WHAT is the medical professor and his NCF board doing to this mandate?
“We didn’t need ICC to tell us how much should be our target because ICC will not turn us into a great Cricket nation they will only encourage us to do the right thing. But we must know what is right.
We going to become a World power in cricket we need to use our population to play the game and ensure that all nooks and crannies of the country has interest in the game.”
For many cricket players the World Cup trophy tour to Nigeria is reward for their unsung effort in to game that is second most popular after football.
“For us it’s the biggest event in the history of Nigeria and Cricket and this came out of what the current National Cricket Federation board is putting into the ga!me and being trusted and recognize by International Cricket Council.
So it’s a monument for us and we have made lots of noise for people to come out get a glimpse of ICC World Cup trophy in Abuja and Lagos this week.
The Minister will be receiving the trophy today in Abuja and then to cricket oval where cricket lovers will see. thereafter it will move to Lagos on Wednesday where we have series of events lined up including a T20 match between the two top teams in Lagos Cricket league. Just to make sure that spectators coming see a form of cricket and know ICC are happy with us. For us it’s a big moment, it’s like hosting a major World Cup games.”
Said Endurance Ofem, Nigeria’s former senior team captain and current Players Representative in the Nigeria Cricket Federation board.