The Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory Cricket Association (FCTCA) Engr. Emeka Onyeama, said that Nigeria has what it takes to conquer the continent if the game of cricket is given the enabling environment to strive.
Onyeama in a chat with LEADERSHIP sports stated that the country has the best of talents who can dominate Africa’s powerhouses (South Africa, Zimbabwe and others) if they are properly given the needed resources and facilities.
“We have what it takes to conquer Africa, we have done it before, what we need is just for us to organise ourselves and also to motivate the players,” he said.
“We have the talents, we just have to do what will make them get the right results also the government should make available the best facilities and give the player more incentives, that’s what I want the current Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) board to work on”.
Onyeama who was the immediate past president of the NCF expressed his discontent over the poor level of cricket awareness and grassroots development in the country.
“I am not satisfied with the level of cricket development in the country, , during my tenure as the NCF president, the media who followed us saw what we did, in regards to awareness and grassroots development. Presently there are no activities in creating the much needed awareness and development of the sport”.
“The present board should understand that sport is no longer for entertainment or recreational activities but as business and should be taken seriously”.
According to him “sports is not isolated but it should be seen as a partnership, so I want the federation to carry out activities, and we want to see these activities being shown on television, that way people will begin to follow the sport and investors will come in”.
Onyeama also revealed the level of cricket development in the nation’s capital by his led board, adding that, they are plans to start a cricket league.
”The FCT cricket association has taken the advantage seeing that the federation headquarters is in Abuja, we also have our private turf, which can successfully host any international competition, so we have leverage on that in hosting grassroots events ”.
“We also qualified for the national sports festival in Edo both the male and female team having beaten the best teams at the zonal qualifiers, that shows a lot is going on in the FCT. However, the boys would not be competing in Edo due to financial problems”.
“Before the Covid-19 they were plans to start a cricket league in the FCT which will be sponsored by my company Voixnetworks, we have done all the paperwork and all personnel were on ground for the league, so we are hoping that before the year run out we will start the league”.
“Cricket is the second highest-paid sport in the world and Nigeria can benefits from that, if the federation and the media can partner together to make it happen”.
“Organizing good competitions, and setting up progressive plans that will create value and media partnership is the best way to drive in investors into the cricket activities”.
Speaking about his earlier days as a cricketer and his dream for the game as FCT cricket boss, “my earlier days in cricket was a memorable one, l started during my Secondary school days in Ebonyi State, I played for Imo state in school sports tournaments. And that’s what shaped my life till today to become an administrator of the game”.
“I was the first NCF president to build a real cricket turf in West Africa. So my dream is to build another cricket ground for the FCT and I want to see that the game is in the school system so that the game will be known just as football in the FCT and the country at large”.