Regional Winners Emerge in PwC National U-17 Cricket Championship
The Regional Qualifiers for the 2022 PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) National Under-17 Cricket Championship held at the weekend with close to 800 kids on parade across six centres.
The Championship, run by the Nigeria Cricket Federation had its highest number of entrants this year with 31 states entering male teams while 25 female teams participated.
President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi AKpata, said the event has become one of the key development indicators for cricket in the country, especially on the measure of recruitment, engagement of young players, national spread and gender balance.
“We are very particular about the level of growth we are pursuing. The PwC National Under- 17 Championship helps the federation model it to the respective states,” he stressed.
At the South West regional event held in Ibadan, the Lagos male team dethroned perennial regional power house, Oyo State.
Other teams that featured at the South West Qualifiers included, Ekiti, Ondo, Ogun and Osun
Uyi said the model for the event is such that irrespective of the winning state, only regional teams compete at the national finals.
“The best players are selected from the participating states and of course with emphasis on exceptional talents across the teams in the regional qualifiers, and led by the coach of the winning team,” he added.
Gombe State emerged winners in the North East Regional Qualifiers, edging Borno and Taraba states.
In the North-West edition which held in Kaduna State, the host dominated proceedings, lifting both male and female regional tittles.
The contenders in the region included, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara and Sokoto states.
Kwara State extended her dominance in North Central, where Kogi, Niger and Plateau states competed. Kwara lifted the honours in both categories.
The Kwara State Coach, Yusuf Awobola said the state owes the victory to the support to from the state’s Cricket Association and the dedication of the players.
The South East region produced a mixed winning side, with Imo lifting the male’s trophy and Ebonyi girls stomping their way through the regional qualifier. Enugu, Anambra and Abia also took part in the event.
The South-South Regional Qualifier was staged in Benin City, Edo State, and the host also sailed through in both categories leaving other competitors; Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Cross Rivers states to hope on national finals’ selection.
Tolu Adeleke, Partner at PwC said the event connects with the values of the firms and believes the 784 kids that took part in the two-day Regional Qualifying stage, apart from being challenged to raise their skill level, must have made new friends across their state.
“We are about the diversity and using same to strengthen the society, The PwC National U-17 Championship fits perfectly to that,” he added.
The 2022 National Finals has been scheduled to hold at the Cricket Pitch of the MKO Abiola National Stadium in Abuja from Tuesday February 15th to Sunday 20th, 2022.