Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

As part of measures to reintroduce sports in the curriculum of schools in Edo State, the state’s cricket association has said that plans have been perfected to introduce the game of cricket.

The association Chairman and Vice President of the Nigeria Cricket Association (NCA), Uyi Akpata, disclosed this at the kick-off of the state’s 2018 cricket season in Benin City at the weekend.

He said as part of the plan to achieve this, the association would soon be aligning with the state’s ministry of education on the matter.
The chairman who said the government should not be fully involved in supporting sports in terms of financing, because it will not be sustainable, however stressed that government intervention in sports should come in terms of support and structure.

“For instance, it is the state government that has given us this ground we are using for our games. They have also promised to do a perimeter fence round the school. We believe they can assist us to build hostel in the schools also,” he further observed.
According to him, “We want to see the government come in to encourage schools, to support their children for the growth for the sport

“There should be partnership between the government and private sector. When there is a good leadership from the private sector side, government should totally align by assisting for sports to develop.
“The area where I really want to see the government come in in the game of cricket is encouraging the schools to support their children,” stressed the cricket chief.

He further said that as part of effort at popularising the game in the state, the association has set a target of introducing no fewer than 1, 500 children to the game yearly.

According to him, “CC, the global regulatory body for cricket says that Nigeria should introduce about 5, 000 kids to the game yearly, but we in Edo have already set a target of 1, 500 for ourselves.
“We are able to do this because we have taken the cricket beyond Benin, to Auchi and Ekpoma in Edo North and Central senatorial districts. We are taking the game to the primary schools levels.

“When you have cricket firmly established in the primary and secondary levels, one would have succeed in raising kids to will play the game in a very long time and also pupolarise it.
“We want to make cricket fun, way of life and even for those who have finished the game, to make a meaningful living by either being a coach and taking any serious aspect of cricket with value chain of marketing, sponsorships to data management.

“So, ultimately, it is business, that is how it is being done else where and I am glad that with the officials we have on ground, Edo is the pace setter in the country,” revealed the Edo cricket boss.

“We have opened the game at the grassroots levels and we are making them to come in tune with the attributes of the game which is discipline, having fun and at the end of the day, whatever they choose to be going for, those foundation would have been well established”, Akpata concluded.