OPENING REMARKS BY KWESI SAGOE, AT THE SEMINAR ORGANIZED TO MARK THE ICC CENTENARY YEAR OF CRICKET | (2009-07-28 )
Chairman, LagosState Cricket Association,
Mr. George Wiltshire,
Other Members of the Board of the
LagosState Cricket Association,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Gentlemen of the Press,
It is heart-warming for me to be here today to make a few opening remarks at this seminar organized by the Lagos State Cricket Association (LSCA).
Let me commend the LSCA for its modest attempt at marking the ICC Centenary year by hosting this seminar thereby reiterating the point that states do not need to wait for the NCF to carry out their programmes.
The NCF will establish the necessary framework for the playing of the game and its administration in the country, but more importantly, it is the States Cricket Associations that have the responsibility for grassroots development that will assist in the identification of talents that will be unearthed at the national level.
The NCF has set the framework for national competitions by bringing back the following tournaments within the last three years:-
(i)National Secondary Schools Championship sponsored by Dufil Prima Plc
(ii)National Cricket Club Championships
These tournaments have brought back some measure of rivalry among the States and co-incidentally the two championships for 2009 were won by Lagos State and congratulations must go to LSCA for that in addition to winning the last National Sports Festival thereby ensuring a clean sweep of all national tournaments this year.
The NCF has also put in place the yearly Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Federation which was non existent and this has served as a veritable forum for learning about the States approach to development and supporting that process.Rudimentary equipment has been distributed at this forum in addition to audio visual aids i.e. DVD’s on cricket coaching and administration.This support will be improved upon as time goes on.
Coming back to the primary reason why we are gathered here today, the ICC Centenary Year, the NCF chose the 4th National Cricket Club Championship which held in Kaduna a few weeks back to mark this by having a coaching clinic for 50 school boys and girls.The session which was handled by Vice-Captain of the Nigerian team, Endurance Ofem was supported by another member of the national team Seye Olympio.
This year 2009 also marks 105 years of Nigerian Cricket.The Nigerian Cricket Centenary year in 2004 was not marked and the exhibition coaching done in Kaduna was earmarked also to mark 105 years of Cricket in Nigeria.
In order to remember the sterling work done in the past by both former Nigerian Internationals and administrators alike the NCF is launching a Hall of Fame Project and it is expected that the first three winners in that project would be the only three Nigerian Cricketers that have thus far been been given Sports Award by the Federal Republic of Nigeria for contributions to Cricket.
In future, a process would be put in place to select past Cricketers/Administrators for recognition on an annual basis.I wish to commend the LSCA under the leadership of George Wiltshire for having a Merit Award Programme in LagosState which is usually done during the Express Discount Lagos Knockout Tournament.
In closing, let me remind all present that Nigerian Cricket has made some significant progress in the last three years of my stewardship.This has resulted for the first time ever in an ICC ODI ranking of 39th globally and 6th in Africa.
The challenge for us over the next few years is to attempt to move up the divisions in the World Cricket League where we are currently in Division 7 and also improve our ranking on the continent.
I commend the LSCA once more for organizing this seminar and wish all present fruitful deliberations.