Members of the 15-player senior women’s cricket team at the 2023 African Games in Ghana, who won bronze at the continental sports showpiece, do not know where their fate lies when medallists from the Games will be rewarded by the Federal Government, reports.

This is because the team was dropped by the Ministry of Sports Development before the Games, but the Nigeria Cricket Federation ensured their participation in the event.

Despite being the lowest-ranked team at the tournament, the Female Yellow Greens upset Namibia by a 47-run win in their second group game, before proceeding to claim the bronze medal with a three-wicket win over Uganda.

It was the first time cricket would feature at the African Games and the female team, just as their male counterparts, was ranked high enough to participate.

However, The PUNCH learnt that the female team was allegedly dropped a week after they began camping on the instructions of the ministry. But after adding to Nigeria’s medal haul at the Games, they don’t know if they will benefit from the financial rewards that will follow.

According to reports, gold medallists from the Games are entitled to $3,000 (N4.2m), silver $2,000 (N2.8m) and bronze, which the cricket team won, was pegged at $1,000 (N1.4m) as at Thursday’s exchange rate.

“We resumed camp under the ministry and after a week or thereabouts, we were told that the female team had been dropped from the African Games. At that point we were still playing our invitational tournament in Lagos,” an aggrieved player told The PUNCH.

After the NCF took care of the team’s travelling, accommodation and other logistics in Ghana, the players were invited, alongside other athletes in other sports, to a meeting with the Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh.

 Sports minister John Enoh told The PUNCH he had “addressed” the issue during the meeting in Ghana but didn’t inform our correspondent if the female cricketers would be paid or not.

“I already addressed that in Accra, so I don’t expect that to be a problem. I met with them (athletes) in the Games Village and I addressed that (the issue).

However, one of the players told our correspondent that this was not the first time that they would be treated like this by the ministry.

“We are actually used to the ministry’s pattern. Even when you are preparing for the National Sports Festival or the National Youth Games, on the day you are supposed to travel, they will tell you one of the cricket teams will not be participating. Imagine how heartbreaking that can be for young athletes,” she added.

But NCF Public Relations Officer, Musa Ehizoje, is optimistic the sports ministry will reward the female cricketers after doing the country proud.

“The ministry has been very supportive of the NCF and our activities and has also contributed to the growth and development of the sport, so we are optimistic this can happen for our girls as well,” Ehizoje told our correspondent.