Yahaya Ukwenya, president of the Nigerian Cricket Federation (NCF), said on Tuesday that some necessary protocols could delay the presentation of the federation’s national team coach.
Ukwenya said this in Abuja that the federation was in the final stages of appointing a new coach for the men’s senior team.
However, he outlined some issues that could delay the introduction of the new coach, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first thing is that the Ministry of Youth and Sports Development agrees with us that hiring a coach at this time is a justifiable decision and will not bring any shame to the country for it.
“We must first prove our case to the ministry. We believe that once we are done with this we can begin the disclosure process.
“Another problem for us would be to obtain 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 of him.
“But even if there is a delay in obtaining the residence permit, we will go ahead with the inauguration and create an agreement where you can enter and leave Nigeria until the permit problem is resolved,” said the NCF president.
Ukwenya continued to emphasize 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 we have never been to and the experience of our indigenous coaches cannot match that level.
“Even for the women’s team, we have never had the opportunity to play the World Cup qualifiers where we met test countries like Zimbabwe. Therefore, it is unfair to players who have reached that level without a quality technical team.
“On a lot of occasions it’s not like we don’t have the talent, but there are some things our players were expected to know and didn’t know.
“And we cannot blame the coaches we have because their experience and knowledge have not yet reached that level.
“So we’re hiring someone who knows what it’s like to compete at that level, someone who will also guide our coaches and help provide technical expertise to the other national teams,” he said.
Ukwenya revealed that the federation had already simplified their search for a coach to just one person.
“Now we are looking for someone from a test country, a World Cup winner with about 150 caps for his country. He is someone who we believe will add value to us, “he said.
Cricket is one of the non-contact sports that has now been allowed in Nigeria to resume training by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19. (NAN)