From concrete to turf: Nigeria’s TBS Oval pitches get a makeover

Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) Cricket Oval, Nigeria’s principal cricketing facility, opened its doors on Sunday after undergoing a much needed transformation. The venue was shut for the previous 18 months as it meticulously upgraded its pitches from concrete strips to turf.

Former Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode joined Professor Osato Giwa-Osagie in a ribbon cutting ceremony to commemorate the special occasion. Speaking afterwards, Ambode praised the sport of cricket and lauded its abilities in helping instil discipline, curb restiveness and teach critical life skills to Nigerian youth.

‘I think critical to success in any endeavour in life are the soft skills that the game of cricket teaches and we are very happy at the recent uptick in the development of the cricket. This turf wicket compliments all the effort of the administration in growing the game and I believe we would in no time feel its impact,’ he said.

New turf pitch at TBS Oval (Photo: Nigeria Cricket Federation Facebook)

The newly installed turf pitches were also hailed by Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) President Uyi Akpata.

‘Facility upgrade scores very high on our agenda and the TBS is very critical in that sphere as it is Nigeria’s frontline facility,’ he said.

The upgrade increases the number of top flight cricket grounds nationally to seven and is a continuation of the strong development work that Nigeria Cricket Federation (NCF) has been putting into growing the sport in Africa’s most populous nation of 211 million.

In 2020, the federation hired World Cup winning Sri Lankan player Asanka Gurusinha as coach and high performance manager to oversee training and mentoring of local coaches. While on the playing field, Nigeria’s junior and senior teams have featured in ICC global events, notably the T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019 and the Under 19 World Cup in 2020.

Note: TBS Oval has previously hosted the ICC T20 World Cup North-Western African Sub Regional Qualifiers in 2018.

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