African nations dominate at ICC development Awards 2023

African nations dominate at ICC development Awards 2023

Four African countries share the six global prizes, Namibia winning in three categories Nigeria, Rwanda and Uganda clinch the other top awards Winners were selected by a specialist panel of cricket figures from around the world

The International Cricket Council (ICC) today announced the global winners of the ICC Development Awards 2023, in which African nations secured the top prizes in six award categories.

From a comprehensive list of regional award winners which showcased a range of inspirational stories spanning 23 Member nations around the globe, Namibia triumphed as global winners in three categories, including the ICC Development Initiative of the Year, the Men’s Associate Performance of the Year, and the Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year.

GettyImages-1244051097-1024x576 African nations dominate at ICC development Awards 2023

Across the other global categories, Nigeria claimed the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year, Rwanda scooped the ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year and Uganda were victors in the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year.

The ICC Development Awards were launched in 2002 to honour the world-leading initiatives and innovative programmes delivered by ICC Members to grow the game of cricket in emerging nations during the previous calendar year.

The recipients of the ICC Development Awards 2022 were determined by a specialist panel of voters consisting of cricket icons Graeme Smith, Mel Jones and Stafanie Taylor, and representatives from ICC Full Members, ICC partners and the media.

ICC General Manager Development, William Glenwright, “The ICC Development Awards continue to shine a light on the inspirational stories that emanate from the excellent work conducted by ICC Members throughout the year.

“This year we have heard about the remarkable efforts undertaken by global federations to grow and develop the game through world-leading participation programmes, thrilling on-field performances and innovative social impact initiatives.

“We are delighted to share the list of global award winners in the 2022 edition, and along with the regional winners acknowledged earlier this year, I would like to congratulate them all on their success.”

Speaking on the multi-award-winning feats of Namibia, President of Cricket Namibia, Dr Rudie van Vuuren commented,

“I want to thank and recognise our CEO Johan Muller and his team for the hard work they have put into this success. I also want to thank and recognise our head coach of the senior men’s team, Pierre de Bruyn, as well as my fellow board members for the hard work and dedication behind the scenes.”

“It will be truly an amazing feeling to receive three global awards at the upcoming ICC Annual Conference in July. It continues to be a privilege to be involved with Cricket Namibia.”

Winner of the ICC Development Initiative of the Year – Cricket Namibia

Namibia overcame fellow regional award winners thanks to the continued success of its Ashburton Kwata Mini-Cricket Programme. The participation programme, launched in 2009 and honoured for the second successive year in the ICC Development Awards, embraces the notion of playing in open environments and promotes respect, leadership, and resilience through cricket.

Since last year’s success the programme has expanded, broadening its footprint to all regions of the country. School teachers are at the forefront of the delivery model, and with increased access to training and education resources for educators across Namibia, playing opportunities were provided to over 20,000 children through the programme in 2022.

The-Ashburton-Kwata-Mini-Cricket-Programme-continues-to-drive-participation-in-Namibia-1024x683 African nations dominate at ICC development Awards 2023

Winner of the 100% Cricket Female Cricket Initiative of the Year – Nigeria Cricket Federation

Nigeria are the winners of this year’s award on the back of significant results obtained from delivering cricket programmes in Zamfara state, a region in the north-west of the country where a number of barriers exist preventing women from participating in sport.

Overcoming significant obstacles in the region such as religion, ethnicity, tribe and tradition, cricket programmes were introduced to provide social benefits to women living in Zamfara. Despite initial resistance, these introductory sessions proved hugely successful, resulting in Nigeria Cricket Federation recording over 15,000 female participants in 2022. These endeavours eventually led to a representative team competing in the National Under-17 Championships, thus transforming lives for the better in the region.

President of Nigeria Cricket Federation, Uyi Akpata – “We were quite optimistic that we could meet our objective of introducing over 100,000 females to the game annually. But we did not expect that the major contributor would be Zamfara, a State in north-west Nigeria, generally perceived to have cultural bias that limits the open interaction of females.

“A combination of factors came into play – an effective partnership with the State’s education authorities and having dedicated and extremely passionate resources on ground.

“This success story has given us impetus to double our expectations under the 9ja kids programme, as we replicate the ‘winning’ formula to other States in Northern Nigeria.”

Winner of the ICC Associate Member Men’s Performance of the Year – Namibia (v Sri Lanka)

Namibia clinch the award for Men’s Performance for their stunning win over Sri Lanka in the opening stages of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 in Geelong.

Buoyed by a successful campaign the year prior, Namibia overcame the 2014 champions with an impressive all-round display on the biggest stage. Notable performances by Jan Frylinck, JJ Smit and David Wiese helped the Super Eagles battle to a 55-run victory against a side high on confidence following their Asia Cup win just a month prior.

Captain of the Namibia national men’s team, Gerhard Erasmus – “It really is a fairy tale story for Namibian cricket to have beaten the former ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Champions. I think the sacrifice and determination of everyone involved led to this triumph, and it will be forever etched into fans’ memories.

“It certainly had a massive impact back home, not only on the cricket community but on the wider sports community. This victory reconfirmed our belief that we are able to compete with the world’s best.”

Winner of the ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year – Rwanda U19

The story of Rwanda’s success at the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup in South Africa in July originates from long-standing regional development programmes and U15 girls’ tournaments run every year in the country.

These initiatives help build a solid base for the national team to thrive, and they showed the full array of their collective talents in the ICC U19 Women’s T20 World Cup Africa Qualifier in Botswana, beating strong competitors Uganda and Tanzania in scintillating fashion en-route to qualifying for the inaugural main event in South Africa earlier this year.

General Manager of Rwanda Cricket Association, Emmanuel Byiringiro – “Rwanda Cricket winning the ICC Associate Member Women’s Performance of the Year award is a remarkable achievement for the cricket fraternity and the country as a whole.

“It signifies the dedication, hard work and investment in developing women’s cricket in the country. This award will have a significant impact on the development of cricket in Rwanda, inspiring more young girls and women to take up the sport.

“The award win will also enhance the visibility of Rwanda cricket, paving the way for more opportunities, and partnerships.”

Winner of the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year – Uganda Cricket Association

Following a 15-year hiatus from the global U19 men’s showpiece, Uganda used their qualification for the 2022 event to promote their young stars nationally in a variety of innovative ways, making excellent use of graphics, videos and collaborations to drive engagement and awareness among cricket fans in the country.

Among the people they worked with to promote their participation were fans themselves, influencers and famous faces from other sports such as football, volleyball and basketball. With the promotional campaign continuing during the course of the event, Uganda saw a significant uptake in social followers, expanding their presence across communities.

Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Cricket Association, Alan Mugume – “It is such a great honour and a privilege for UCA and Ugandan cricket at large to be receiving this award for the ICC Digital Fan Engagement of the Year.

“A lot of time and effort has gone into enlightening the public about the game in Uganda and this award shows that none of it has been in vain.

“This positive publicity puts the development of cricket in Uganda in the limelight and without a doubt, we shall continue to scale the heights especially as we look to make a fourth appearance at the ICC U19 Men’s Cricket World Cup in 2024.”

Winner of the Cricket 4 Good Social Impact Initiative of the Year – Cricket Namibia

Namibia’s colourful Pledge 4 Pink social impact campaign scooped the global award thanks to the far-reaching benefits drawn from fundraising attempts for the Cancer Association of Namibia. The annual event saw a range of activities take place over a five-week period, including a Pink Ball, a Golf Day and a specialist T20 tournament on Pink Day, where over 2,000 spectators attended to support the cause.

Following these elaborate fundraising initiatives, which also included national players auctioning off their jerseys, Cricket Namibia raised N$152,000 in total during the Pledge 4 Pink campaign, donated to aid the support of cancer patients in the country.

Chief Executive Officer of Cricket Namibia, Johan Muller – “Our Cricket for Good initiative – the Pledge 4 Pink campaign was driven by Natalia, our Marketing Manager, in support of the Cancer Association of Namibia and the various testing facilities that they put up across the country to work on the development of cancer treatments. It is a wonderful cause, and the work they do for Namibians is vital.

“It’s magnificent to be recognised at this level, even though it is not the reason for doing this. We want to give back to people in Namibia and to assist where we can as a as a good corporate citizen of Namibia.”

Tapiwa Rubaya

Tapiwa Rubaya is the current affairs, fashion and sports reporter at My Afrika Magazine.

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