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Edo association targets producing 12,500 cricketers annually

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) The Vice-Chairman of Edo Cricket Association, Abraham Oviawe, on Tuesday in Benin said the association has set for itself the target of producing 12,500 cricketers annually.

Oviawe told the Nigeria News Agency that the new players would be introduced to the game in primary and secondary schools across the state.

“The association, as a way of popularising the game, has introduced students and pupils in 16 secondary and eight primary schools to the sport and they are currently playing regularly,’’ he said.

The Edo association vice-chairman added that the sport was not only just introduced to those schools but a coach was assigned to each of the schools to train the players weekly.

He pointed out that in December 2019 a total of 3,554 new players were produced through a coaching clinic.

“The clinic was held over nine days and it took place in nine secondary schools in the state,’’ Oviawe said.

He added that, aside from introducing the sport to schools with the aim of popularising it, the association also awarded scholarship up to university level to players who showed commitment.

“Presently, we have 15 players under this scheme. The scholarship is predicated on their commitment and performance in the game, as well as academics.’’

The Edo cricket association vice-chairman disclosed that the scholarship scheme was being bankrolled by the friends of Uyi Akpata, the association’s chairman.

“As it is now, we still have a scholarship available for any cricketer who wants to study Law. This is being sponsored by Templers Law firm.

“Those that perform well and show commitment to the game also have the opportunity of exposure at the international level.

“Right now, 12 players are going to South Africa to watch the Under-19 Cricket World Cup. This trip is solely sponsored by Akpata,’’ Oviawe said.

He also disclosed that the state cricket association has gone further to introduce the sport at the camp for Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in Ohogua, near Benin.

“Our aim is to give hope to them while they are there. We have assigned a coach to them and it is our desire to see them present a team at the state league in April.’’

Oviawe further said a cricket turf of international standard was under construction at Adolor Secondary School in Benin.

He said the turf, which would only be second in comparison with the one at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja, would attract international matches when completed in February.

(Edited by: Remi Koleoso and Olawale Alabi)

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