The Nigeria Cricket Federation have formally unveiled Sri Lankan World Cup winner Asanka Gurusinha as the Head Coach and High Performance Manager of Cricket for Nigeria in a ceremony at the Media Center of the Moshood Abiola Stadium on Tuesday.
Gurusinha, had an 11-year international career, playing 41 Tests and 147 One Day Internationals for Sri Lanka, will take charge of Nigeria’s national teams and will also act as a coach trainer and mentor to the country’s rapidly growing number of coaches.
Gurusinha who was picked ahead of 32 top coaches, who applied for Nigerian cricket’s top job, expressed excitement about the future of the sport in the country and his role in ensuring the sustained growth of the game.
“I am very excited to take up this job and I am really looking forward to the best we can achieve with the level of enthusiasm, talent and support that the Nigerian Cricket Federation has,” he said.
Maria Whophil, who represented the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare, assured of the Sports Ministry’s full support for and alignment with the vision of the NCF.
“Since a little over three years that this board came into office, we have seen their passion and vision to grow the game, especially their interest in grassroots development. This tallies with the direction of the Ministry and we have been giving the support, they need,” she said.
“The unveiling of Asanka Gurusinha today was a tedious process, and we are glad that it came through. I want to implore all stakeholders especially sponsors, partners and supporters of the game of Cricket to rally behind the board and Asanka to make sure we make a success of this process.” She said.
Professor Yahaya Ukwenya, President of the Federation said the hiring of Gurusinha was very deliberate and is a key agenda of their five strategic imperatives.
“We have been promoting the game at all levels, upgrading Infrastructures, engaging strategic partnership, improving the quality of players and officials and maintaining appropriate governance and finance structures as our key goals for this administration.
“The hiring of the Head Coach is paramount to achieving at least two of those. We have five facilities that we are also upgrading side-by-side to international standard including the one that would be used for the National Sports Festival in Benin” he said. Ukwenya said all the achievements both off and on the field of play is expected to rise on the heels of the expertise and professionalism that the new Head Coach Gurusinha would bring to Nigerian Cricket.
Gurusinha, an integral part of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup winning Batting line up, is a Level 3 cricket coach, and was previously the Consultant Regional Cricket Coach for Cricket Australia.
In 2017, he was appointed as the manager of Sri Lanka’s national team, but resigned from his post after consecutive defeats to India in all formats.
He is expected to go to work immediately familiarising himself with the country’s best players in a closed camp for the Nigeria’s top 36 players who were also in Abuja to witness the unveiling.