Akpata Believes Cricket Can Provide Platform For Regional Integration

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President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Mr. Uyi Akpata (Right), and the President of Sierra Leonia Cricket Association, Mr. Francis Trevor Samura at the closing event of the Bilateral T20 Series in Lagos

 

The president of the Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi Akpata believes the recent bilateral match between Nigeria and Sierra Leone has huge benefits that go beyond playing on the pitch.

Speaking after the six-match bilateral T20 series which Nigeria won 5-1 at the University of Lagos Cricket Oval, Akpata confirmed that presently Nigeria is the best-ranked team on the West and North Africa region of the continent and it will be good to support neighbouring countries.

“This series apart from helping the two teams shape up for the forthcoming International Cricket Council’s Africa’s T20 qualifier later in the year. It also offers grounds for both bodies to impact on each other’s growth,” he said.

Nigeria is already through to the finals of the qualifying series in Rwanda while Sierra Leone will need to pick a slot for the final round from a pre-event scheduled to start from 2nd November 2021 in Kigali.

Nigeria has also agreed to help the Sierra Leone Cricket Association to raise the standard of their playing turf to the current turf wicket being played in Nigeria as well as donate developmental kits to them.

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Akpata noted that having good competitive neighbours will accelerate development in the region and home teams will work towards maintaining some standards. It also helps to get easy pairing partners for tune-up matches.

“Ghana and Sierra Leone have kept Nigeria on her toes in the region and it would be nice to have them match up to our level for the growth of the game in the region.” He added.

At the closing match of the Bilateral Series at the UNILAG Cricket Oval, Nigeria outclassed their visitors with a 36 runs victory in 20 overs to lift the overall trophy after six matches.

Nigeria’s Peter Aho who in the fifth match registered the best bowling figures of an innings with six wickets, five runs, one maiden in 3.4 overs was again adjudged the Player of the Match in the sixth match and Best Bowler of the Tournament with a Trophy & $200.

At the close of the tournament former U-19 Captain of Nigeria Slyvester Okpe emerged as the most valuable player of the series with a trophy and $300.

The Yellow Greens will depart for a training tour of Zimbabwe from where the team would proceed to the African T20 Qualifier scheduled for 17 November 2021 in Kigali, Rwanda.

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