The International Cricket Council (ICC) recently honoured most populous African Nation, Nigeria as prestigious World Cup was brought to hilarious reception of Cricket-loving fans in Abuja.
The much-coveted trophy headed to Lagos, where Lagosians set their eyes on it and took long-lasting photograph.
Despite not being eligible to participate in the World Cup in the United Kingdom later in June, Nigeria was picked as one of the countries that the World Cup would visit, in recognition of her growing interest in the game.
Receiving the trophy on behalf of the Federal government inside Abuja National stadium, Permanent Secretary, Mr Adesola Olusola whose joy was visible commended ICC and Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) for steadily improving the game with regular activities.
Olusola who represented Youth and Sports Ministry at the attended by the entire cricket community assured of the readiness of the current administration in developing sports in Nigeria and enjoined corporate bodies to invest more in all sporting activities.
President of NCF, Professor Yahaha Ukwenya, whose leadership has piloted affairs in the past 18 months said: “This is an opportunity to wet the appetite of Nigerians. We know a lot of work has to be done in improving the sport.
“Certainly, Nigeria won’t take back foot again in cricket, rather we will continue to initiate developmental programmes geared towards popularising the game.
“I believe we have communicated to the world how passionate our team is, in several ways, and, how ready we are to grow the game in these few months that we have run Cricket as a new board, that was what earned us this.
“This is the first time the World Cup Trophy is coming to this part of Africa. It is indeed a honour.”
The effort of the new board of the Nigeria Cricket Federation in eighteen months has seen Nigeria move from division 2 to division 1 in the under-19 category and the unranked Women’s national team has been ranked 36th in World T-20 Internarional.
The NCF also kicked off a grassroot development program where over 3, 000 kids has been reached in 2018, with double that figure being targeted for 2019.
Most recently, the ICC, also partnered with the NCF in a 3-day commercial strategy and development workshop, delivered by the renowned CSM Sports consultants for Middle-East and Africa.
The workshop was targeted to rejig, review and re-assess the Federation’s 4 years strategic development goals in which the team was already ticking some right boxes.
The World Cup trophy would depart Nigeria on Wednesday.