The Nigeria Cricket Federation has announced a partnership with Nigeria’s topmost account firm Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) to stage the maiden National Under-17 Cricket Championship.
The event to feature boys and girls category will be across the six regions of the country.
President of the Federation, Professor Yahaya Ukwenya said yesterday that the federation has had the event as part of the feeder channel to the national Under-19 teams and eventually the senior national team. This he said resonates with the PwC brand, for accountability, sustainable development, and culture we are building.
“Nigeria’s spectacular feat of picking the Under-19 World Cup ticket earlier in the year was as a result of our robust grassroots engagement. And, since then, we have dug even deeper.
“In 2018 alone 3, 000 kids were introduced to the game. This year surely will have a higher record going by the statistics so far.
“The PwC National Under-17 National Championship is a platform for states to showcase cricket talents, consolidate on the growing interest and development efforts in each of the regions,” he said.
Among other things, Ukwenya muted plans of the federation to continually have a tournament pathway and opportunity for players to be discovered and developed.
“Our target is to build a unique U-17 squad by the end of this tournament from where they will develop through our high performance initiative into the next U-19 team.
“We hope this pays off in the near future so as to give selectors the opportunity of having variety of players to pick from.
“To us at the NCF, this tournament is the lifeline and partnership required between the federation, states association, clubs and off course, the sponsors.”
The Zonal Elimination are scheduled to hold this weekend at designated centres in the regions from August 22nd to 26th for girls, while boys will take their turn from August 28th to September 2nd, 2019.
According to the General Manager of the Federation, Emeka Igwilo, so far 19 states have raised teams to feature in the event.
“Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Edo, and Rivers states will be converging on Rivers State for the South- South eliminations.
“In the South-east, Enugu will host Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo states, while, FCT will host Kogi, Kwara and Niger states for the North-central elimination series,” he hinted.
Other states that are vying for ticket to the national finals include Ekiti, Lagos, Oyo, Ogun and Osun for the South-west series in Oyo State; Jigawa and Kaduna states will slug it out for the North-west ticket in Kaduna.
Igwilo further said that; “This is one of the most important events on our calendar as it holds a lot for the future of the national teams and also helps us develop different technical capacities, including coaching, scoring and umpiring at different regions.
Regional teams will be selected from the six regions to compete at the National Finals scheduled for September 19th to 30th in Abuja.