Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) has set three immediate targets for the new national team coach, AsanKa Gurusinha.
NCF president, Prof Yahaya Ukwenya, said yesterday during the unveiling of the expatriate coach at the VIP Lounge of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, that the targets and long term goals of competing at ICC Cricket World Cups and attaining full membership and Test status with ICC, informed the board decision to hire the Sri Lankan cricket guru.
He said Nigeria with a young and diverse population of over 200 million, has the potential to drive cricket revolution in Sub-saharan Africa and charged the coach to ensure that Nigeria attain number one ranked field status in Africa within his first year tenure.
“The current NCF board made it clear from inception of the target and endpoints for the transformation growth of becoming one of the top three cricketing countries in Africa, competing at Cricket World Cups, attaining full membership and test status with ICC, and developing and promoting cricket to become a truly national sport loved by the Nigeria from all walks of life.
“We expect Mr Gurusinha to work towards the long term goals of NCF stated above but immediate measurable expectations will include Nigeria approaching top 20ICCT20 ranking from the current position of 39 by end of his first tenure, becoming one of the most physically fit teams and attain number 1 ranked field status in Africa within first year, and at least 3 Nigerian batsmen and 3 bowlers to be ranked within Africa top 20 by first 18 months,” Ukwenya said.
NCF boss revealed that out of 32 world top cricket coaches that applied for the Nigerian national team job, Gurusinha was chosen based on his pedigree and track record of successes, saying his experiences would be useful to a low resource but ambitious country with huge potentials like Nigeria.
Gurusinha, who has been offered a 3-year renewable contract for an undisclosed fee, said he is excited to take up the job. “I am very excited to take up this job and I am really looking forward to the best we can achieve with the level of enthusiasm, talent and support that the Nigerian Cricket Federation has,” he said.
His immediate assignment, however, is a close camping for the top 36 players in the country who are already in Abuja.
Gurusinha will combine his job as a coach and high performance manager of NCF with coach education and mentoring responsibilities in addition to developing a national framework for grassroots cricket coaching unique to Nigeria setting.