Cricket: Nigeria wins ICC Initiative of the Year award


Nigeria was on Wednesday announced as winner of the International Cricket Council’s Cricket Initiative of The Year 2023 in Africa, with the PwC National U-17 Championship, which has ran for five years, PUNCH Sports Extra reports.

The country was among the 21 nations celebrated by the ICC following another ground-breaking effort on and off the field in the year under review.

“The ICC Development Initiative of the Year award recognises the outstanding development initiative delivered during the year and regional winners include Nigeria Cricket Federation, whose U-17 Cricket Championship continues to provide competitive playing opportunities for boys and girls across the country,” ICC said in a statement on Wednesday.

Nigeria and other regional winners from other continents will now be put forward for voting to determine the global awardees in each category.

NCF president, Uyi Akpata, said the award couldn’t have come at a better time.

“This is an award that celebrates the power of collaboration. PwC and several partners took a gamble on us and backed our developmental initiatives. It is gladdening that it is yielding results on a global dimension,” Akpata said.

“It has been encouraging to know that the ICC has been keeping tabs and particularly recognising the efforts of our team of passionate cricket development officers and the board of the federation. This will only spur us to go further.”

Country Senior Partner at PwC Nigeria, Sam Abu, said the award confirmed the potential they saw in the game.

“This global recognition for our joint initiative with the Nigeria Cricket Federation is one we are proud of, especially for the fact that it confirms that the game has the potential to galvanise, empower and equip the youths for global impact.”

It is the fourth honour Nigeria will be receiving in recognition of the country’s strides in cricket in recent times.

Nigeria has also been a regional winner of ‘Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of The Year’ for the cricket developmental activities at the IDP camp in Edo State, as well as the 100 per cent Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of The Year for the massive girl-child enrolment initiative in Zamfara State.