Nigeria Cricket Federation and CSED Initiative Empower Cameroonian Refugees through Cricket Training in C/River

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… Association to capitalise on success of training 

As part of events marking IDSDP (International Day of Sport for Development and Peace), the Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) and CSED Initiative recently (6th to 8th April 2024) held a three-day introduction to cricket training for eighty Cameroonian refugees at the Adagom 1 playground, in Ogoja Local Government Area of Cross River State, Nigeria. Ten volunteer trainee cricket coaches were also introduced to the game of cricket for the first time. The training event was supervised by Bibiana Ngwenifun (Leader of Adagom 1 Camp), who ensured that the female folks were equally represented at this training event NEGROIDHAVEN can report.

The new cricket players and trainee coaches were taught the basics of cricket by NCF Development Officer, Blessing Etim and Patrick Edididong. On day 1, the training involved the introduction of cricket to the trainees, fitness drills, basic batting, bowling and fielding drills. Day 2, involved a mixture of classroom based training and field training. The areas covered were cricket seminar, detailed explanation of cricket laws, as well as the demonstration of batting and bowling techniques. On the last day of the training event, a practice game between residents of Adagom 1 and Adagom 3 was held.

Attendees at this groundbreaking training event were drawn from the three camps that are based in Ogoja Local Government Area, namely: Adagom 1, Adagom 3 and Ukende. At the end of the training event, cricket starter packs for training and match purposes that were donated by Lord’s Taverners and the NCF were freely distributed to the Sports Committee Leaders of Adagom 1 and Adagom 3 Camps. Representatives of Ukende Camp were advised that the event organisers will hold a separate training event for them within the next six weeks, after they would have taken delivery of sets of cricket packs. The Chairman of Cross River Cricket Association, Dr Macfarlane Ejah stated that their Association will build on the success of this training event to develop grassroots cricket in the Ogoja and Northern axis of the State.

Going forward, based on the NCF experience of using cricket to support IDPs in Uhogua Camp in Edo State, the current leadership of the NCF is expected to support their new cricket coverts by using cricket to provide them with psycho-social support, empower them in terms of using the game of cricket to learn soft skills like computing/coding, as well as promoting tolerance and respect for each other. More importantly, living in peace and harmony with the other residents of Ogoja community, is also a priority.

On their part, the Trustees of CSED Initiative, are currently exploring the possibility of introducing other sports (netball, table tennis, pickleball, and taekwondo) to residents of the three Cameroonian camps. CSED Initiative also hope to take on the challenge of building a multi-purpose playing court at Ukende Camp. Subject to overcoming the issue of high cost of generating alternative source of electricity, as well as procuring 20 to 25 computers, CSED Initiative hopes to introduce the “Sporting Coders” programme to some selected residents of the three camps. Ako Allan (a Cameroonian refugee) and his team, are already on ground waiting to take the benefit of the “Sporting Coders” programme to the next level. This is after the “Sporting Coders” programme was successfully piloted in Bayelsa State, by members of the netball team of Tare Pet Montessori Group of Schools. CSED Initiative will soon commence discussion with the NCF on how their grassroots players can also benefit from taking part in the “Sporting Coders” training programme in future.