Sunday, January 11, 2015 8:35 pm
Nigeria has climbed six places to rank 19th in the world and fifth in Africa in the latest world cricket ranking.
The ranking released by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for 2014 saw Nigeria overtake Saudi Arabia, Italy, France, Kuwait, Germany and Zimbabwe.
The President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), Emeka Onyeama, told NAN in Abuja on Sunday that the leap was an improvement on the position before he assumed office.
“In 2013 when we came on board, we were 34th on the ranking; in early 2014 another ranking came out and we were placed 25th.
“Now, this is the last ranking for 2014 and we are 19th in the world out of 358 playing countries; it is something remarkable,’’ Onyeama said.
According to him, various factors, including the administration of the game and projects executed in 2014, brought about the improvement.
He also noted that the country’s participation in international events as well as the coordinated grassroots programmes introduced by the NCF contributed to the leap.
“Basically, our commitment, passion and resolve to take this game to a greater height and the commitment of the people around me are the major factors that led to this development.
“Another important factor that contributed to our success was the support we got from the National Sports Commission (NSC) which has never been seen before.
“Today, cricket is being recognised by the NSC; it is no longer an optional sport as it used to be and this really encouraged us to go all the way to succeed and we are going to do more.
“It’s good that Nigerians know that this is the second highest paying sport in the world and we are number 19 in it; it calls for more attention,’’ he said.
Onyeama further said that in addition to football, cricket had placed the country on the world’s map, noting that such achievement needed to be encouraged.
He urged private and government establishments to key into the latest success to further develop the game in Nigeria.