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29 August 2020 | in NUSF News, FISU Student Ambassadors

Roadmap for Nigerian university sports

Nigeria 2Sport is a vital part of every Nigerian student's life, according to Prof. Stephen S. Hamafyelto, President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA). He spoke to FISU Volunteer Leaders Academy Participant Olatunde Adebayo.

 

Sport is the sociological agency that binds people together, regardless of barriers such as ethnicity, language and culture, believes Hamafyelto. "It unites us by introducing harmless competition between people, thereby providing entertainment, recreation and discovering talents that would not have been discovered if sport did not exist," he says. 

 

Nigeria boasts of numerous young talented athletes and the onus is on NUGA to provide a platform where this talent can be nurtured. It means providing opportunities for their training in various universities, and also organising games to identify the best who can represent the nation in the international space.

 

This was why the Nigerian University Games Association was formed in 1965 by the five universities in Nigeria at that time. "Now, there are over 80 universities as members with about 300,000 active sport participants,” says Prof. Stephen S. Hamafyelto.

 

Nigeria 5NUGA, like any other NUSF has had its share of challenges and over the years has tried to surmount them. Challenges such as funding, lack of sport facilities, lack of student participation, universities getting sport mercenaries to represent them, complacency of member universities etc. have burdened the association.

 

But what makes NUGA special is how it has surmounted all of these challenges, increased the amount of student athlete participation, increased its members and improved gender equality in its games.

 

Hamafyelto says that, "The major programme for year 2020 is the execution of the 26th NUGA games scheduled to be held in November/December 2020. A strategic plan is being developed for the Association with a view to making it one of the most important organisations in the development of sports in Nigeria."

 

"The strategic plan will look into both, the development of human and non-human factors that are important to enhance University Sports in Nigeria for the next four years and beyond. An action plan with timelines will also be developed thereafter to actualise the plan.”

 

”The 26th and 27th NUGA Games are major priorities at hand. These are the most exciting events which bring about 4,000 participants in at least 16 sports together for 10 days."

 

Nigeria 3The NUGA Games are a sports fiesta that is always looked forward to by all university sports communities. Hosting of single-sport National Championships will also be encouraged especially by very newly established universities in order to develop their infrastructures.

 

"Capacity building of coaches and other personnel in the sports departments of the universities will also be given more attention in order to enhance good service delivery," explains Hamafyelto. 

 

The success of every sports event depends on the participation of both, athletes and volunteers who ensure that everything goes according to plan. This is why host universities provide incentives such as certificates of participation for students who volunteer to make the games successful.

 

"The roadmap to NUGA's success has been filled with a lot of obstacles, but more importantly, it has been filled with people who realise the need for university sport," says the NUGA President. "Hence, despite the challenges or embargoes, we must forge ahead. This is a vital lesson we see in sport - it is those who thrive despite the obstacles that get the crown, and the crown for NUGA is more student participation, gender equality and the games being played accurately and fairly."

 

BY: FISU VOLUNTEER LEADERS ACADEMY Participant Olatunde Adebayo

 

Nigeria 1