By Ijeoma Okigbo
Abuja, Sept. 1, 2020 Yahaya Ukwenya, President of the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF), on Tuesday said a few necessary protocols could delay the unveiling of the federation’s national team coach.
Ukwenya told newsmen in Abuja that the federation was in the final stages of appointing a new coach for the senior male national team.
He however outlined a few issues which could delay the new coach’s unveiling, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first thing is for the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to agree with us that employing a coach at this point is a justifiable decision and will not bring any embarrassment to the country as a result of this.
“We need to prove our case to the ministry first. We believe that once we are done with this, we can begin the process of unveiling.
“Another issue for us would be getting a temporary residence permit for the coach. We don’t want a coach who lives abroad, but someone who lives here with the players.
“That way, we will get the best out of him.
“But even if there is a delay in securing the residence permit, we will still go ahead with the unveiling and create an arrangement where he can be coming in and out of Nigeria till the permit issue is settled,’’ the NCF president said.
Ukwenya went on to emphasise the need for a new national coach, saying it was necessary following the improvement in the country’s level of play.
“Our teams are playing at a level that we have never been to and the experience of our indigenous coaches cannot match that level.
“Even for the female team, we have never had an opportunity of playing World Cup qualifiers where we met Test countries like Zimbabwe. So, it is unfair to the players that they have been to that level without a quality technical crew.
“At many times it is not as if we don’t have the talents, but there are some things our players were expected to know and didn’t know.
“And we can’t blame the coaches we have because their experience and knowledge have not got to that level yet.
“So, we are getting someone who knows what it is to compete at that level, someone who will mentor our coaches as well and help provide technical expertise to the other national teams,’’ he said.
Ukwenya disclosed that the federation had already streamlined its search for a coach to one individual.
“We are now looking at someone from a Test-playing country, a World Cup winner with close to about 150 caps for his country. This is someone we think will bring us value,’’ he said.
Naija247news reports that cricket is one of the non-contact sports that have now been permitted in Nigeria to resume training by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.