Cricket Federation trains 120 Ebonyi kids on sport’s basic skills
No fewer than 120 pupils from primary and secondary schools in Ebonyi are currently undergoing a two-day training in the basic skills of the sport, Cricket, organised by the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF) in Abakaliki.
The state’s Cricket Coach, Jephtah Ugwu, told Newsmen on Thursday that the training which would end later in the day, involved 20 participants each from six schools in Abakaliki and Afikpo centres.
Ugwu noted that the training tagged: “Naija Cricket Kids Outreach’’ is intended to inculcate basic cricket skills in the participants and make them identify with the sport wherever they see it being played.
“This is the reason for limiting the training to primary school pupils and students in the Junior Secondary School (JSS) cadre.
“They ware being trained on cricket’s basic skills of bowling, batting and fielding among others and are put through the practical paces at the end of the theoretical segment.
“The practical paces for the Abakaliki centre is holding at the Annunciation Secondary School field, while that of the Afikpo centre is at the Government College Cricket Oval,” he said.
The cricket coach said that plastic equipment were provided for the trainees due to their level to ensure safety during the training.
“Soft balls are being used during the training as the trainees will start using approved safety equipment when they progress in the sport.
“The games masters of the participating schools have been trained to sustain these tutorials and ensure that the kids are abreast of basic skills in the sport,” he said.
Charles Obasi, the South-East Regional Development Officer (RDO) of NCF, said that the training was part of federation’s vision to develop the sport at the grassroots.
“This first phase of the programme covers 20 states and Ebonyi has been selected in the South-East zone alongside Enugu and Anambra.
“We intend to use the training to increase the popularity of the sport in the state and country, especially among the youth.
“We will not encounter much problems in practicalising the tutorials because any football field can serve as an oval with mats just placed in its middle,” he said.
He called on the government and private sector to assist in promoting the sport, especially in areas of sponsorship and training of coaches.
“We hope to promote cricket by organising sensitisation programmes such as this as necessary equipment will soon be distributed to the participating schools,” he said.
The Chairman of Ebonyi Cricket Association, Blessing Ogbuehi, commended the NCF for the gesture and noted that the association would assist in promoting the sport in the state.
“Cricket is a popular sport in Ebonyi and the state’s team won the South-East zonal elimination series in the female category for the ongoing National Sports Festival,” he said.
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