By Albert Akota
The Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) yesterday said it had concluded arrangements to host the first national U-15 girl’s cricket championship between June 13 and june 16.
The President of NCF, Emeka Onyeama, said in Abuja that the championship would hold at the cricket pitch of the Abuja National Stadium.
Onyeama said the championship was part of the federation’s developmental efforts to further promote the game in Nigeria.
He said that teams from the six regions were expected to participate in the championship with the best players selected to represent their zones.
According to him, the U-15 cricket championship is the major grassroots developmental programme to select players for the national U-15 male and female teams.
The NCF president said that the South-West team emerged winners of the just-concluded U-15 male championship.
He challenged other zones to raise their game in the female championship and strive to out play the South-West.
Onyeama said the main objective of organising the championships was to get talented players who can replace the aging ones and maintain Nigeria’s position as a cricket playing nation.
“The championship is targeted at creating a large poll of players who will be competing to play for Nigeria in the nearest future.
“We want to create an academy where they will converge on once in a while to compete for seven days or two weeks, to play among themselves and be active.
“Presently in the world ranking, we are 32 best in the world and fifth best in Africa.
“We have to keep progressing and the only way to keep the tempo is by grassroots developmental programmes.
“We need to start grooming the young players now and exposing them to international competition. The male championship was a huge success and the female one will be great too.
“I am so happy because this is the first national grassroots programme I am organising as the federation’s president and it is a dream come true,’’ Onyeama said.