NCF to establish more centres to boost cricket, says Akpata

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By Esther Babajide/ Oluwaseun Fadugba

Lagos – Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) says it will set up more centres equipped modern facilities to boost game before the quarter of the year ends.

Uyi Akpata, the Vice-President of the federation, said this while speaking the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lagos.

He said that the centres would be located in Abuja, Lagos, Benin and Ibadan.

Akpata also said that it was sad that Nigeria crashed out of the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

He, however, said that the federation had been able to discover the team’s area of weakness based on its performance in the tournament.

NAN reports that the team lost their three matches to Australia, West Indies and England at the tournament.

He said that the defeat would discourage the federation but it would prompt it to invest more in facility development during the year.

According to him, in the last-two-and-a-half years, nobody gave the federation any chance of being at the world cup so soon.

“We have no less than 120 cricket playing across the world; the U-19 grade occupies the 15th position in the world and the third position in Africa.

“We need to invest in facility development to attain the level that other countries had attained.

“Hopefully, the feat that had been laid, we need to get more sponsors to come on board and partner us.

“Through such partnership, we will jointly take the game to an enviable height,” he said.

Akpata also said that the federation would focus on the development of the U-19 grade being the foundation for the future senior team.

He added that the federation would also pay attention to the U-12 grade which would serve as serve as the feeder team to the U-19.

Also the coach of the U-19 team, Uthe Ogbimi, said that the team won their playoff match against Japan eight wickets.

Ogbimi said that the federation had a lot to do such as organising regular trainings for the athletes, especially, at the early stage.

“The journey starts having been to the world cup; Nigeria now knows that it is possible to be at the peak,” he said.

The ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) U-19 Cricket World Cup in South Africa will end on Feb. 9