The Nigeria Cricket Federation has been given the final approval by the International Cricket Council to host the ICC Sub-Regional T20 Qualifying Tournament billed to hold from Thursday, April 12 to Sunday, April 22, 2018 at the prestigious Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval, in Lagos.
In a series of meetings which lasted 3 days between the ICC representative Mr Kuben Pilay and members of the LOC, key areas of interest were discussed and sufficiently addressed. Such areas included; Security, Catering, Accommodation, Transportation, Medical and Media. An inspection tour was also conducted by the LOC team on the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval where constructions were ongoing.
Mr. Kuben Pilay, who addressed the Media on Friday March 2, 2018 in Lagos, said that the ICC was pleased with level of preparedness by Nigeria for the regional tournament.
According to him; “we are impressed with the level of work done so far and the level of commitment by members of the LOC.” He also expressed optimism that this will be the first in a series of international competition to be hosted by Nigeria.
Speaking during a meeting with journalists at the Conference Room of Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval, Mr. Uyi Akpata, and Vice President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation took time to explain that the rationale for hosting this competition was born out of the board’s desire to reposition the sport since assumption of office some eight months ago.
The Chairman, Local Organizing Committee went further to stress that the board under the leadership of Professor Yayaha Adam Ukwenya, would do everything humanly possible to package one of the best Cricket competitions in Nigeria and a clear testament to their capabilities was the hosting of the National Male Championship in December 2017 at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval, Lagos as well as the maiden edition of Cricket Awards for past and present Cricketers.
He also stressed that the board already has Eroton Exploration and production Ltd and Zenith Bank Nigeria Plc as the Federation’s sponsor but will continue to work round the clock in getting more sponsors which makes them less dependent on the ICC and Government.
In the same vein Mr. Dahiru Enesi, the Technical Representative on the N.C.F Board, while fielding questions from the Press assured Nigerians that the country would present the best players come April. “Currently we have twenty-two players out of thirty three players invited to camp that scaled the first trials and much later three foreign based players namely: Shola Anyia (United Kingdom), Saheed Akolade (Australia) and Dotun Olatunji (Canada) would join up starting from Monday, March 12, 2018 during the second phase”. This year we decided to move out of the norm to create a tournament during trials with coaches and selectors dividing the players into three teams namely: Team Alakija, Team Nwokedi and Team Kalada.
This move ensured that the best batsmen faced the best bowlers and vice versa which in turn resulted to the best twenty-two players that are gearing up for the second phase this month.