The International Cricket Council has confirmed that its World Cup trophy would arrive Abuja, Nigeria at noon, on Monday.
This will open a new chapter in Nigeria’s sports history.
Monday’s arrival of the Cricket World Cup will herald a three-day tour of the country as part of the build-up to the 2019 World Cup.
Despite not being eligible to participate in the World Cup scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom later in June, Nigeria has been picked as one of the countries that the World Cup would visit.
This is in recognition of her growing interest in the game.
The president of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Yahaha Ukwenya, who was elected the head of the body in June 2017, said he and his team could not have thought about this, eighteen months back, when they assumed leadership.
“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,” he said in a statement issued by the NCF.
The trophy would be hosted in Abuja and Lagos. While in Abuja, it will be received by the minister of Youth and Sports Development, Solomon Dalung.
It will visit some iconic places like the Shehu Musa Yar’adua cultural center and the Katampe hills.
In Lagos, it will be received by Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode and also displayed at the Tafawa Balewa Cricket Oval on Lagos Island.
“The tour of the World Cup Trophy is presently the biggest activity in the game of cricket, the world over, and Nigeria has been placed on that map by sheer effort of the dedicated people that make up the leadership of the Nigeria Cricket Federation.
This is the first time the World Cup Trophy is coming to this part of Africa. It is indeed an honour,” Uyi Akpata the NCF vice president said.
“We have a lot people in the cricket community who have been yearning to have a taste of World Cup Trophy and we are working out a very fair ground that would be inclusive for all the groups represented in our diverse community in Nigeria, both students, diplomatic community, professionals, enthusiast and sports fans” he added.
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 International.
The NCF also kicked off a grassroots development program where over 3, 000 kids were reached in 2018, with double that figure being targeted for 2019.
Most recently, the ICC, also partnered with the NCF in a 3 days 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 four years strategic development goals. The team is already ticking some right boxes.
The World Cup trophy would depart Nigeria on February 13, 2019.