Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr. Sunday Dare has expressed delight that Cricket in Nigeria is rapidly developing to a stage where Nigeria has a world presence in the sport.
The minister was speaking at a reception for a delegation of members of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) and the International Cricket Council (ICC) who paid him a courtesy visit on Tuesday in Abuja.
“When I received your letter, I did a rough research on Cricket Nigeria and amazingly, I got a lot of information which is really exciting to know that within the Cricket world, Nigeria has found a place and also a voice and to realise that we were going to the World Cup is almost a shot from the blues,” Dare said.
“We have above 38 sporting Federations and Cricket is one of them. I’m happy to see the development of Cricket, how far it has come. The Ministry I’m sure has been supportive, now we have to support them more now that they are World Cup bound”, he urged.
“I think most importantly the prior inspection that occurred and the follow-up, the Ministry will be willing to work with the NCF to see how some of the key findings and recommendations can be implemented. Some of it might not be money, it might just be structural, so whatever it is, we will look at that and see how we can partner with the ICC and also the NCF”, the Minister pledged.
Calling for more publicity for the players, he said, “It would have been nice to have the Federation bring them over let’s know them. Perhaps bringing them here and having the the cameras roll over them can inspire and create an awareness that Cricket is really here to stay and belongs on the same deck as Football, Volleyball Basketball, Boxing and all the other Sports. When you look at it professional Cricket players earn a lot of money too.”
“It is exciting to know that Cricket has come of age and we need to support it for it to develop rapidly,” the Minister concluded.
Earlier in his address, the President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation Prof. Yahaya Ukwanya said Cricket had made notable progress in Nigeria in the last two years while stressing the need to find the missing link between Education and Cricket.
“This visit is more like a follow-up visit and it’s aimed at implementing the findings of the previous visit and the plan is to meet with the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development led by the Minister on behalf of the Federal Government and we also have a planned visit to the Minister of Education because we believe that the missing element in our sport has to do with education. There is also planned meeting with the stakeholders of the game. This is basically what we’re here”, he said.