The International Cricket Council has thrown its weight behind the Nigeria Cricket Federation in making the country the fastest growing cricket nation in the world, following the colourful reception for the Cricket World Cup trophy on Wednesday in Lagos,The PUNCH reports.
Nigeria is again among the three African countries selected for the trophy parade, along with South Africa and Uganda, ahead of the ODI World Cup in India from October 5 to November 19.
After the first leg of the trophy tour in Abuja on Tuesday, the piece of silverware was on display at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval in Lagos on Wednesday.
General Manager of Development, ICC, William Glenwright, who was accompanied to Nigeria by the ICC Regional Development Manager in Africa, Patricia Kambarami, said Nigeria was top priority in spreading the game.
“Nigeria is our fastest growing member around the world. We came to learn from the NCF to better understand what they are doing successfully and apply it elsewhere around the world so that other members can be equally successful as Nigeria,” Glenwright told The PUNCH.
“It’s also for us to better understand the ways the international federation can support Nigeria in their growth. They have great plans and we have a role to play.”
President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi Akpata, said the board would not relent in its efforts to ensure the country benefitted from its development agenda for the game.
“With the grand entrance and the celebration that greeted the trophy here, imagine what will happen if we actually win the World Cup; a lot of my people say we will shut down Lagos,” Akpata said.
“So, we are looking towards improvement in that direction. We are strategically placed as we continue discussions with Cricket South Africa in terms of players placement. It’s a pathway in terms of sustainable development. We have seen it, it’s just for us to walk our way through the path.”
The Trophy Tour Manager Eddy Fwamba, who guided the silverware from South Africa to Uganda before coming to Nigeria, expressed optimism about Nigeria’s strides in the future.
“We believe the trophy tour will enhance and amplify the work the NCF is doing in bringing the game to more Nigerians.”