Focusing on cricket in Sierra Leone

By Isaac Lockett

Sierra Leone U19 and national men’s team captain George Edward Ngegba recently spoke to Scouting Cricket about the recent on-goings in Sierra Leone, including his reaction to winning Sierra Leone’s male athlete of the year during the latter stages of 2020.

Prior to the turn of the year, Ngegba was nominated for Sierra Leone National Entertainment Awards 2020 Best Sports Man Of The Year alongside fellow a number of impressive athletes. Mustapha Bundu who has recently gone on loan to Danish football club F.C. Copenhagen, Augustus Kargbo who currently plays football for in Italy for A.C. Reggiana 1919 and Mohamed Buya Turay who currently plays football for Hebei China Fortune; two national team volleyball players in Ishmael Bangura and Ibrahim Jon Kamara and men’s national football team coach John Keister were the other nominees for the award. After a public voting process, Ngebga was presented with the title and subsequent trophy. But the award for the eighteen-year-old offers increased motivation to improve his own game. 

George Edward Ngegba at the Sierra Leone National

Entertainment Awards 2020 (Photo: George Edward Ngegba)

He said: “It’s a special achievement for myself and I feel so very proud and excited about it.

“It makes me believe that all my hard work, dedication, focus minded efforts and consistent performances have been highly appreciated and recognised.

“I’m certain that it [the award] will also urge me to put in more effort and energy to do even more than what I did last year.”

As he alluded to this year, it will be a busy year for Ngegba and his teammates with both the U19 World Cup qualifiers and the men’s T20 World Cup regional Qualifiers taking place over the next 12 months. Alongside the male events, the Sierra Leone women’s team will also be in action during the WT20I World Cup regional qualification events.

When talking about the upcoming events, Ngegba believes that all of the Sierra Leone national teams are all looking forward and eyeing qualifications and winning spots with all the tournaments.

“We are very determined to qualify and become Champions in any tournament that we will be competing in.”

This hunger to qualify and to win has seen the coaches and players engaging in immersive and more effective training sessions alongside playing a series of highly competitive and challenging trial matches. The Senior Men’s team have been playing T20 and T10 matches, the U19 team have been constantly engaged in the ODI format with the female side preparing with a range of T20 matches.

When reflecting on the games he has been a part of, the men’s U19 and national team captain believes that: “the trial matches have gone really well and were fruitful.”

George Edward Ngegba calling a coin toss during the series

between the U19 and U17 men’s national sides (Photo: Sierra Leone

Cricket Association)

Talent identification has been a huge positive for Ngegba: “We’ve been able to identify a couple of quality players who need to be nurtured, shaped and polished to help them maximize their talents. We’ve witnessed highly competitive trial matches and it has helped some young players to do the unbelievable and make the news headlines.

“Upcoming players like George Sesay, Alusine Turay, Karim Kamara and Mohamed Kamara has been doing consistently well both at the T20 and ODI trials.”

When elaborating what has impressed him, Ngegba has been encouraged by: “the level of composure they have shown” and feels that players like Mohamed Kamara have been: “looking solid and their performances speak for themselves.”

In particular: “Alusine Turay is a player to watch as I see him topping the run scoring chart with a lot of half-centuries in our upcoming T20 league” according to Ngegba.

But it is George Sesay that Ngegba believes will have a breakthrough year and feel that if he is: “well supervised and managed can become the player of the season.”

Finally, when focusing on his own 2021, Ngegba said: “I’m looking forward to executing most of the skills, techniques and strategies that I’ve been practicing and watching at the international and professional stage. I’m also looking forward to trying to impress during our domestic league and also help my club team to become champions of all our domestic leagues.

“At the international level, it would be great if I can learn from my past mistakes and converts them into strengths.

“My aim is to ensure I always play according to the game situation and stick to the plans and strategies.”

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