The Minister of Youth and Sports Development Mr Sunday Dare, Friday, received the Under-19 Cricket team led by the President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation Prof. Yahaya Adam Ukwenya.
Receiving the team, the Minister praised the young team for returning to World Cup stage failing to make it in over 100 years
“The first time in a hundred years, that for me is a very important milestone in sports development in this country. It also signposts the fact that this country is a bundle of talents.
“The number of talents we have in this country just in the sports arena alone is massive. It shows that there’s nothing when it comes to sport that Nigerians put their hands on that they cannot excel.
He expressed optimism that though the team has been grouped with tough teams, they would excel at the competition. “This team will go there and do Nigeria proud. They are going there not for trials but to compete against the best”, he said.
“When you look at the profiles of these teams, it is very intimidating but you must play the game and win. Sometimes when you lose, you have also won because you have competed with the best. The fact that you are on the same platform and pedestal at the World Cup shows that you are good enough to compete so bear that in mind when you step out to play.”
The President of the Cricket Federation who spoke earlier, presenting the Under-19 team to the Minister, said, the team’s qualification process started in August last year with the Division 2 Africa Qualifiers as underdogs and emerged victorious.
“We were then invited to play the African finals in March this year and against all odds, these boys won the tournament, winning all matches of the tournament”, he said.