The Tokyo 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES which was the XXXII Modern Olympic Games has emerged a very different Olympic Games. Yes very different in the sense that it has presented a very different type of TRUCE which was a major feature of the Ancient Olympic Games. In the ancient Olympic Games. A TRUCE was a unique and a very unique. VALVE that was usually applied and strictly observed among the Greek city states whenever a war was going on and the Olympic Year and period crept in. Since the Olympic Games were observed as a four yearly festival in the Ancient Greece, wars were a common obstacle for the games. To overcome this obstacle, TRUCE was the answer. The antidote to scale the hurdle created by war. 

However, the war that emanated against TOKYO 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES was the COVID-19 PANDEMIC. Really, in my article “May African Traditional Sports record wonderful (breakthrough in this 2020 – 2030 Decade” [Part 1]. I used the word ‘Pandemic” at the introduction and for the introduction of the write-up. After it had already been posted, I started to ponder on the appropriateness of the use of the word “pandemic”. I was wondering whether I ought to have used endemic. Since it had gone, I just told myself, just leave it like that, you were only worrying about it because of the training you received when you were at Ansar-Ud-Deen Teacher Training College, Otta, Ogun State Nigeria where you had a book called ‘English Registrars. The book taught us that there were certain specific words for certain specific situations or specific professions/communications. If you master your training very well, whenever a newscaster is reading the news, you would be supplying the appropriate words he would mention in completing a sentence.

Those were the good old days training in your English Language lessons. Anyway after about three months later, that word pandemic exploded and the explosion started to rock the whole world wide wide. Yes wilde wide. The explosion catapulted our beautiful Tokyo 2020 OLYMPIC GAMES to be staged in 2021 or be turned to shreds i.e not to take place at all. The NEW TRUCE in the Olympic Games emerged bringing the TOKYO 2020 to be staged on 23rd July – 8th August, 2021 but retaining the beautiful name TOKYO 2020. And with many adaptations so to say for the human race to stage the largest social gathering of youths being moderated by their senior adults as sports administrating and technical officials, including their performances on the sport arena and directing their affairs inside their rooms and their immediate environment nilly – willy whether they are seeing them on not in their games villages.      

Talking about TRADITIONAL SPORTS being in the Olympic Games, it will appear to some enthusiasts that are not too highly informed, as something that is very awkward. However, the educated elites, especially the Physical Education Professionals, historians and especially those that are versed in ancient history of Europe, particularly the history of ancient Greece and Roman Empire, will agree with me that there are a lot of Traditional Sports in the Olympic Games. 

The Olympic Games started with Traditional Sports of Greeks City States used in felicitating with the gods and goddesses of Greece especially Zeus at the Olympia. The Olympic Games had started for quite sometime before the first recorded one in history. The first ancient Olympic Games recorded took place in 776 BC was at a sacred valley in Elis, a city in ancient Greece. This valley became a stadium measuring 643 feet long and 97 feet broad with about 40,000 spectators sitting on the grassy slope overlooking the arena. 

The festival took place at a four-year interval called the Olympiad. After several Olympiads, many traditional sports of the Greeks’ City States crept into the festival. Such included the pentathlon, wrestling, boxing and chariot racing. Then Greeks were conquered by the Roman Empire, the Romans retained the Olympic Games and introduced some of their own traditional sports. So you have an event called Greeko-Roman wrestling in the modern Olympic Games. Gymnastics, the body beautiful sport, was originally traditional sport from Ancient Greece also. All these are in this modern day Olympic Games, so why can’t African Traditional Sports be in the Olympics too?

Moving away from Europe based traditional sports that are in the Olympic Games of today, we also have Asian based traditional sports such as Judo, Taekwondo and Karate

Refreshing as ever, AFROTRADOSPORTS, is telling you that the basis of modern Olympics and Sports, all over the world is in the Traditional Sports. 

Traditional Sports that have become highly exposed, refined, well articulated “institunalized” and able to meet the standard set by International Olympic Committee may gain acceptance to the Olympic Games when well presented.

(Please read my write up on: TRADITIONAL SPORT IN THE COMMONWEALTH 2018) for more comprehensiveness of thus topic


1United State of America 394133113
2People Republic of China38321888
3Japan 27141758
4Great Britain22212265
6Australia 1772246
7Netherlands 10121436
10Italy 10102040


1Kenya 44210
2Uganda 2114
3South Africa 1203
4Egypt 1146
5Ethiopia 1124
6Tunisia 1102
8Nigeria 0112
9Namibia 0101
10Botswana 0011
10Bukina Faso 0011
10Ivory Coast 0011

The above two medal tables should positively motivate the Confederation of African Traditional Sports and CA Games in working very hard to get African Indigenous Sports to become Olympic Sports. May be Africa will also do better if her indigenous sports are in the Olympic Games.

Mallam Elias Yusuf  


As is using this write up to felicitate with Tokyo 2020, it is also using it to felicitate with our Traditional Sports Federations and other bodies that are promoting Traditional sports Worldwide and at the grassroot HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DAY OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS WORLDWIDE for the first time in history today 14th August 2021. Such bodies include the UNESCO, THE TAFISA, THE ETHNOSPORTS, The International Council of Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG) (the central celebrant) I suppose all stakeholders like Confederation of African Traditional Sports and Games (CATSG), Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) and of course, we in Many happy returns of the day, longlife and prosperity. Next year we shall be more prepared for this celebration. 




This episode six of: May African Traditional Sports record wonderful breakthroughs in this 2020 – 2030 decade will feature the paper presented exactly twenty years ago dealing with modern techniques in two major indigenous seed games from Africa: AYO and AFRICAN BILLIARDS
See it as follows:


This paper presented 20years ago for the internal consumption of Nigerians on Nigerian African Traditional Sports has now moved up to go international through

The view of the writer of the paper twenty years ago reflects his patriotic stand to his country, Nigeria and passion for the African Continent Indigenous Sports. Now that has been done in essence it is to modernize African Traditional Sports.

This is one of the major duties of the continental body, to modernize our African Traditional Sports. All our Traditional Sports in Africa must be visited in order to infuse new ideas that will make them move up and forward in growth and development of the sports and games.

Yes, those that are very knowledgeable highly experienced on the sports and games should be involved in updating the sports and games. Such people also must have fertile minds that will make the sports and games to go to the next level of development like football moved finally from haperstum to modern football in London in 1863 when the Rules of Association Football were established.

Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria has done a lot of work in transforming the six major Traditional Sports in her Rule Book. This is a good example for other Traditional Sports Federations in all the countries in this our African continent to work seriously to modernize their sports in order to make them more interesting, very modern very attractive, with greater equity and beauty.

Every sports that is living will continue to grow and develop. Even through it uniqueness will be retained, new ideas will continue to emerge to further improve the sports e.g the recent idea of Video Assistant Referee in football (VAR).

Our sports should have their basic standard upon which the continental body on African Traditional Sports should leverage to take the sports to the right level.

Thank you.


Africa At The 11th World Sport For All Congress in Havana Cuba in 2006/ relating it to promotion of Traditional Sports in Africa.

TAFISA, means Trim and Fitness International Sport For All Association. It is the International umbrella body of which Sport For All Nigeria is a member. 

TAFISA is an affiliate of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and had what was called IOC Sport for All Commission under the then chairmanship of Walther Troger of the IOC as at 2006, I can understand, the structure required in organizing congresses of TAFISA, was that there were two types of congresses. First, there was a biennial congress of TAFISA under the auspices of IOC. Then there was also a congress annually by TAFISA itself (as at 2006).

The 2006 congress of TAFISA was the 11th World Sport For All Congress in Havana Cuba and was held under the auspices of IOC.

This 2006 congress in Havana Cuba, had its main theme as: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, BENEFITS AND CHALLENGIES with papers presented and compiled into a form of book containing all the papers presented at the congress.

According to the records of the organizers of the meet, not less than one hundred and five countries from the five continents of the world, participated in the congress

In Europe, countries like Albania, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy etc. attended.

In Asia countries like China, Chinese Taipei, Japan, Korea, Malaysia etc. participated at the congress.

In North America, countries like the United State of America (USA), Canada, Mexico etc. attended.

In South America, Cuba, the host, was enthusiastically supported by Venezuela which had the largest number of delegates from outside Cuba to attend the congress. Countries like Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina etc. were present. Australia was also there.

In Africa, eighteen countries attended. They were as follows, with the number of delegates from each country.

  1. Angola 8 delegates.
  2. Botswana 3 delegates
  3. Burkina Faso 1 delegate
  4. Burundi 1 delegate
  5. Cote D’voire 1 delegate
  6. Eritrea 1 delegate
  7. Ghana 1 delegate
  8. Kenya 1 delegate
  9. Lesotho 1delegate
  10. Mauritius 1 delegate 
  11. Morocco 1 delegate
  12. Namibia 1 delegate 
  13. Nigeria 3 delegates
  14. Seychelles 1 delegate
  15. South Africa 8 delegates
  16. Swaziland 2 delegates
  17. Tunisia 1 delegate and
  18. Zambia 1 delegate 

Yes, I heard you. You were wondering aloud, “how is TAFISA CONGRESS related to “African Traditional Sports” yes, they relate with the following background.

In 1992, TAFISA organized the first world Festival of Traditional Sports in Bonn, Germany.

In 1996 the second World Festival of Traditional sports was organized by TAFISA in Bangkok, Thailand. In 2000, TAFISA organized the 3rd World Festival of Traditional Sports in Hannover, Germany in which I was one of the 11 man delegation that represented Nigeria. Nigeria presented some Nigerian traditional dances at the festival.

In 2004, TAFISA’s 4th World Festival of Traditional Sports billed for Montreal, Canada was cancelled. TAFISA later organized the quadrennial festival in Bussan, Korea in 2008. Before the cancellation of the 2004 festival billed for CANADA, TAFISA had already approved two Nigerian Sports, Abula and Africa Billiards as recognized events for the festival.

The participation of the Africa countries in this 11th World Congress of Sport for All, created opportunities for the Nigerian delegates to mobilize delegates from Africa for the then brand new and the Sport for All training program coming up in Nigeria in the first quarter of 2007. The African delegates who related with the Nigerian delegates enthusiastically, cordially and brotherly promised to assist in mobilizing African traditional Sports in their countries for placement in the Afrotradsosports website. We had very good discussions with the South African delegates, Eritrean, Kenyan, Ghanaian, Seychelles. Lesothoan and almost all the delegates from the 18 countries from Africa hoping to partner with After a few years, afrotradosports went off. It however came back with renewed figure in recent past..  

Giving you this information from my position, I am very aware that Mrs. Comfort Nwankwo, a Nigerian, the then Secretary-General of Sport for All Nigeria, was the Chairman of Traditional Sports Committee in TAFISA. This was a great advantage to Africa in general and Nigeria in particular. However, it was also a big challenge for Africa and Nigeria to give her support in making the 4th World Festival of Traditional Sports coming up in Busan, Korea a wonderful success. As the Chairman of the committee in Traditional Sports and as a Vice Chairman in TAFISA, she had a lot to do by attending all the meetings necessary to justify her choice in those two positions in TAFISA. She needed to have home support financially and logistically. 

The trip of the three delegates for this World Congress was able to get support in terms of two free air tickets for to and fro Cuba to support Sport For All Nigeria to  attend the congress. It was highly appreciated that this great support was from Air France. Bravo Air France and bon voyage always. Amen.

Let us look at the performance of the African delegates at the congress. Really Africa did not go to the congress as a regional group. They went as individual countries. In fact some went through Sport for All of their countries. Some went as members of their National Olympic Committee, some went representing their sports councils, Ministries of Education and all that. The African delegates had one thing in common, AFRICA, their motherland. So the delegates had affinity and affection for one another. They met in cafes to appreciate themselves. They went together and shared ideas together. They also mixed freely and happily with other delegates from all parts of the world. 

At the congress seminar, Nigeria had a good show, because the second paper presented at the seminar mentioned Nigeria and the leader of the Nigerian delegation was wonderful in responding to issues raised.

During the question and answer session, some journalists sought audience to interview the leader of the Nigerian delegation. The leader of Nigerian delegation to the congress was Mrs. Ize Matebeze. The second delegate of the Nigerian contingent was not just an ordinary Executive member, she was a Vice President of TAFISA. She was highly involved in the boardroom firework, of TAFISA which started this congress from board meeting of TAFISA in Buenos Aires, Argentina just before the congress proper kicked off in Havana, Cuba.

She was not in the congress for the congress sake, but there for executive work to cross all the’t’s and dot all the ‘i”s to ensure the reality of the 4th, World Festival of Traditional Sports and Games and to finalize arrangements for TAFISA Certified Leadership Course billed for the first quarter of 2007 in Nigeria. That certified course took place and was very successful. The third delegate from Nigeria, your Afrotradosports man, Mallam Elias Yusuf. 

First, he was the only man among the three. Secondly, he is traditional sports biased and thirdly, he read Physical and Health Education at the University of Lagos, Lagos Nigeria. Fourthly, it was in Cuba that he actually confirmed the website of which his web man was working on before he left Nigeria for the congress in Cuba. 

So, being a sport practitioner, the congress was a great challenge to him. I am  writing about him, otherwise this report will not be complete. So in summary, he asked three questions, on three separate papers, he was addressed as African man when the moderator was trying to clarify, that he was the one given the authority to speak when many hands were up in the area of the hall, where he was sitting. He was probably one of the most sought after for photographs because of his African Traditional attires.

All African delegates made great impact as some of them presented papers at the congress.       

By the level of participation of Africa in this congress few years ago in a sport event that was not football, athletic, basketball or the likes, it is possible for Africa to get together to promote our African Indigenous Sports in the spirit of New Africa Initiatives and “wakie wakie”, the theme of the Mascot of 8th All Africa Game, Abuja 2003.

This “wakie wakie” junction so to say, now propels to break the great news on this platform. At longlast, THE GREAT EXPECTATION, this time around is not the one by Charles Dickens but by African lovers of Indigenous Sports of Africa that have been longing to see African Traditional Sports in the right perspective of this modern era, now have their dreams materializing.

I am fantastically happy to welcome the arrival: UNION OF AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS AND GAMES (UATSG), the continental body to govern, administer, control, organize, promote etc African Traditional/Indigenous Sports and Games. UATSG, Welcome! Welcome!! Welcome!!! You are heartily welcome by Bravo AFRICA! 

A humble and great salute to all EXECUTIVES of UATSG. You are welcome. is using the write-up on AFRICA AT THE 11TH WORLD SPORT FOR ALL CONGRESS to announce the arrival of UATSG and to deduce a logic that if Africa could participate that very much at that conference that took place in the continent of South America in the year 2006, now been at home inside our own continent, we must do better. No more slumbering, no-sit-down-look and no antagonism. Certainly, by the internet post of 22nd April, 2020 from the contact person: Chief Michael Shamsu Mustapha, The Secretary General of UATSG, from the Secretariat of UASTSG in Sierra Leone, West Africa, African Traditional Indigenous Sports and Games are no longer sheep without shepherd. We in Afrotradosports say: We congratulate you, we congratulate ourselves. 

Without any doubt, this is one of the wonderful breakthroughs for African Traditional Sports in this decade of growth, development and progress for our African Sports.     

I hereby dedicate this write-up to the announcement of the arrival of UATSG on this afrotradosport platform as the real “welcome party” write-up is coming in no distant time.

Thank you.
Mallam Elias Yusuf  


In 1997 – 2001, I was the Vice Chairman of Nigerian Association of Traditional
Sports (NATS) and the Chairman of the Technical Committee of the
Association, enthusiastically working under the leadership of dynamic, very
understanding, highly approachable and forwarding looking Dr. Haskee
Dantanee, the third Chairman of NATS. An innovative idea was evolved as we
worked in a conducive atmosphere, cordial and progress laden relationship
with our very hardworking, indefatigable and highly devoted Secretary
General, Mrs. Rose Adiole.

A form of working and standing order came up. As we normally have our
National Sports Festivals in Nigeria biennially, we mobilized the group to have
coaching clinics for Coaches and Technical Officials biennially too. The coaching
clinics to precede the National Sports Festivals while the year in between the
biennial Festivals should hold a National Seminar/symposium which would
treat our policy formulation by using intellectual capacity to drive giant strides
for the rapid progress of our lovely association on the basis of both general and
specific issues. We dreamt great for our association.
Then came the year 2000 which was a festival year and Olympic Games’ year
and the TAFISA year for the 3 rd World Festival of Traditional Sports which
dovetailed into EXPO 2000 in Hannover Germany. We supposed to have only
coaching clinic as our standing order, obeying our calendar for the year.
However, as the year 2000 Olympic Games, taking place in Sydney Australia
was fast approaching, an organization simply called NASCA approached us in
(NATS) for a symposium to commemorate the Olympic Year. Initially, we
looked at it as not following our standing order, but as the pressure piled up
and we discovered that the first Chairman of the NATS, Alh. Dr. G.N Hamza was
going to be the Chairman and Guest of Honour of the opening day of the
symposium and it was not an everyday affair to be that lucky to have a
Presidential Aspirant in your country to be the Chairman of your occasion, we
gave in. I was given a topic to handle and some important dignitaries were
given their own topics too. I can still vividly remember that the Secretary of
Nigeria Universities Games Association (NUGA) was among the dignitaries that

delivered paper. A VIP from National Council of Arts and Culture was also billed
to deliver a topic too. The symposium became a national and international
event instantal. It held at the National Institute for Sports National Stadium,
Surulere, Lagos Nigeria for two days. At the opening day, I delivered my paper
in the presence of a Presidential Aspirant to the seat of Government, Aso Rock,
Abuja Nigeria.
Around November 2020, I bumped into the copy of my topic of the symposium
from my archives. I was amazed when I went through it. I thought what should
I do with it? A twenty-year anniversary of the write-up came up in my mind
and the desire to put it on was it. Incidentally the Olympic
Games for 2020 in Tokyo had moved forward to 2021. So I decided that I was
going to release it on word-for-word. Not only that, I
would not re-type, I would scan it and deliver it like that as this paper must
have been waiting in inter regnum to be featured on
Please see one of our humble contributions to the growth and promotion of
Traditional Sports in Nigeria and Africa, 21years ago.
Here it is, featuring as Part 4 of “May African Traditional Sports and Games
Record Wonderful Breakthroughs in this 2020/2030 Decade”(as PART B of this
episode. See it below).


Definitely, a paper delivered twenty-one years ago must have some updates. I will only treat very few that are very obvious especially in keeping the records straight.

  1. The Nigerian National Sports Festival originally billed for Kano was at the last moment shifted to Bauchi and it became BAUCHI 2000 for the best reasons known to the organizers of the festival. BAUCHI 2000 was very peaceful and successful. It was there we started Ayo doubles and mixed doubles on the freestyles Ayo, rules and regulations. 
  2. The Indomie ABULA CLUB was launched with pomp and pageantry. It was very successful. Shortly after the launching, there was a change of guard at the management level of the group which brought a lull on the activities of Indomie ABULA CLUB. This became a bit enlongated and stretched to link and ancor with the would be second edition of the Lagos Abula League which was going to enlist the Indomie ABULA CLUB as a team. This second edition would not go on as there was no sponsors. Those who carried out the first edition did so through volunteering and many of those who volunteered then got Abula jobs as coaches outside Lagos State and environ. The teams were also made up of secondary school boys that were mostly assisted to transport themselves to and from National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos from wherever they were living around Lagos and metropolis of Lagos.

Now, Abula is now a household name in Nigeria and African Traditional Sports Plans are now underway to resuscitate Lagos Abula League and to institute Abula National League.

When these plans materialize, the Indomie Group will be re-connected to rekindle, the light of friendliness/friendship that lit between Abula and Indomie that led to the formation of INDOMIE. ABULA CLUB. Bravo indomie, you remain our friend-in ABULA GAME.

  1. Abula a no-contact game

This paper presented in the year 2000 is a clear evidence that Abula had been designated as a “no-contact game” 21years ago. 

When Abula was designated as a no-contact game, nobody envisaged Covid-19 that entered Nigeria in the year 2020 which accorded some favours for sports to be classified as no-contact sports. Social distancing is inbuilt in the abula court and the surface of the abula bat is the only surface that makes contact with the ball when the ball is already in play. Although the no-contact designation is not perfect like the other no contact sports too. So Abula, in four by four or two by two qualifies as a no-contact game. 

“Hello Lagos, SPORTS IS BACK!” Organized by Lagos State Sports Commission on 9th – 10th of September 2020 to arouse the sports live of Lagos despite the COVID-19 hurdles placed on sporting activities of the people in our environment and society. 

Abula was one of these selected no-contact rackets sports we had for the program, Abula, Badminton, Squash and Table Tennis. There were five board games that took part in the program. They were Ayo, Chess, Darts, Monopoly and Scrabble. This is a great credit to Lagos State Sports Commission  for promoting our African indigenous Sports of Abula and Ayo just like their developed counter parts side by side, shoulder to shoulder. This is great in our society. This also gives credence to the slogan on Abula in this recent time: ABULA MOVING STEADILY ACROSS BORDERS. Abula is actually penetrating steadily, the sport live of our societies and across physical, sychological, social, cognitive etc borders since it was approved for the school curriculum in Nigeria together with other indigenous sports of Ayo, Kokawa/Gidigbo (traditional wrestling) and Langa more than fifteen years ago. 

In the “African we want”, our African indigenous sports should be promoted shoulder to shoulder with other sports of the world. 

Just like football has its main game of 11 aside and have other derivatives like 5-aside, volleyball has her own six aside, the main game and has the beach volleyball of two aside, as another entity so Abula has the main game of four aside and other varieties, one of which is the two aside called two by two Abula.  

With these three major updates on the paper, the paper remains as fresh as ever and as relevant as necessary. The paper also gives us the idea that sensitization on waking up our African environment in the promotion of African Traditional Sports had started to gain ground in Nigeria for quite sometime now. The platform: is a great medium to update us in what had been done in recent past on this. This is a sense of history on the growth and development of our African Traditional Sports. There are still some papers of the past that will still come on stream as they are as fresh and relevant in mobilizing and mentoring all of us as regards African Traditional Sports and Games.

As this being part 4 of May African Traditional Sports and Games record wonderful breakthroughs in this 2020/2030 decade, hereby consolidates on the main goal of the paper which was to commemorate year 2020 as Olympic year and Olympic Games of Sydney Australia (2000), this release of the paper on afrotradosports will now be used to commemorate the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan in this 2021 even though it was originally scheduled to be TOKYO OLYMPIC 2020 as a kind of TRUCE had to be observed as a result of COVID-19 PANDEMIC. 

We in sincerely wish all of us on earth HAPPY TOKYO OLYMPIC GAMES IN ADVANCE. As a great lover of the Olympic Games, I admire a lot, the contributions of every participant but I am particularly attracted to the Africans and their fabulous performances. Certainly the Africans wherever countries they represented, have made great contributions in raising the standard, glamour, colour, strength, speed, style, sychic, tactics, skills etc connected with the Olympic Sports of the Olympic Games. I urge the Africans to increase the tempo, the volume and goodness of their contributions with spirit of fair play and excellent sportsmanship.

Just like anytime I met Chioma Ajumwa in a function, what always came to my mind was how she “run up like cheetah, planted her foot accurately on the board (take off board) like a post office stamp man stamping the middle of the stamp on a letter, she sprang up from the board like falcon, flew and landed like a dove and glided forward off the danger zone beautifully, making the assurance doubly sure, that she did not fall back to diminish or destroy the great jump she had just made. There and then the white flag sprang out and history was made at Atlanta 1996. If I were a trainer, the athletes I am training on long jump would have nicknamed me “get me a “Chioma Jump” because the emphasis and frequency of the request would have made that phrase become a slogan for the group. 

That style of jump is unique and it deserves to be labelled “Chioma Jump”. That is the level in which Africans and Africans in Diaspora have contributed to the growth and development of the modern Olympic Games and the Olympic Sports. Hence, Africa should become a PRODUCER of a good number of Olympic Sports like the other continents of the world Q.E.D.

Thank you.

Mallam Elias Yusuf 


Happy birthday to Abula too on 08-02-2021. Abula was first fully and successfully played on 08-02-1984 at Idi-Araba high School, Mushin, Lagos Nigeria. 




  1. Promotion of Traditional/Indigenous/Ethno Sports in all our schools from Kindergarten through primary, secondary, colleges, polytechnic to university, obeying “UNESCO” Verona Declaration (2015) on Traditional Sports in schools.
  2. Promoting TSG through tourism e.g through Royal Fathers, Traditional festivals, e.g The Olojo Festival of Ooni of Ife, Argungun Fishing Festival, Osun-Oshogbo Festival, Ofala Festival etc Promoting through V.I.Ps.
  3. (a) Patriotism Agenda for Africans: (a) To be in agenda 20/30 & Agenda  2063 with the theme: REPLACING THE GUNS WITH OUR INDIGENOUS SPORTS 

(b) Promoting our sports to be:

(i)  In the (All) Africa Games

(ii) In the Commonwealth Games 

(iii) In the Olympic Games 

  1. National Agenda: e.g National Sports Festivals of each of the countries (in all the 54 countries in Africa)
  2. Recreation and Leisure 
  3. Decoration, Exhibition, especially in International Expos, Ministry of Interior Parks, forest reserves and reformation premises, National Day Events etc..  
  4. Infrastructure: In schools, stadia, parks, gardens etc
  5. To be part of High Profile National Sports Bodies e.g Army Sports, Naval Sports, Airforce Sports, (Armed Forces Sports) Police Games, NUGA, NACEGA, NIPOGA YOUTH GAMES, NSSF etc
  6. Research Chairs/Awards etc
  7. Adopting and adapting our sports for fitness training & national fitness program (index)  
  8. Production of Coaches and Technical Officials through Train the Trainers Coaching Clinics, Routine Sports Association Clinics/Institutes etc
  9. (a) African Confederations on each sport and Multisports Federation for African Indigenous Sports. Regional Sports Bodies e.g ECOWAS 
  10. Standardization of Rules and Regulations to continental level and world exports level for our Traditional Sports.
  11. Promotion of local leagues e.g Lagos Abula League, National and Continental Leagues.
  12. Writing of Books especially compendium or encyclopedia of African Traditional Sports and Games.  
  13. Sports Museum or creating a section for our indigenous sports in existing museums.
  14. Sports Institute(s) on African Traditional Sports and Games (TSG).
  15. Encouraging film makers to promote African Indigenous Sports through their films.
  16. Hosting of Traditional Sports Festivals, championships at Regional, Continental and World levels. 
  17. Modernization of the sports for greater acceptability and promotion.
  18. Budgeting to really promote these sports to world level (standard)
  19. Appointing Minister of State, Sports to handle our Traditional Sports  for each country in Africa etc. 
  20. Mentoring: Let us have mentors i.e. elders and sponsors to mentor on our indigenous sports 

Thank you.

Mallam Elias Yusuf 

President of TSFN (2001 – 2005) 

The Jury, Traditional Sports 

Demonstrated at the 8th

All Africa Games, Abuja 2003

The inventor of Abula Game

And African Billiards 


08023289082, email:



  1. Promotion Through Education Sector 

The template of (Afrotradosports) African Traditional Sports in our Schools. Let each and every country in Africa obey “2015 UNESCO Verona Declaration on Traditional Sports and the Antananarivo recommendations on TSG. By so doing every country will practice and promote Traditional Sports on a more consistent global/uniform standard, thereby carrying out the followings (i.e each country):

  1. Prevents extinction of our Traditional Sports 
  2. Promotes existence (each country identifies their TSG 
  3. Promotes documentation of her indigenous sports 
  4. Promotes improvement 
  5. Promotes popularity 
  6. Promotes daily practice and usage 
  7. Promotes history of the sports
  8. Promotes knowledge of the sports 
  9. Promotes pride of the sports
  10. Promotes solving problems of the sports
  11. Promotes modern version of each of the sports 
  12. Promotes advancement of the sports
  13. Promotes researches on the sports 

UNESCO’s Verona Declaration Wants: 

O Promotion of Intral mural competitions inside each school 

Promotion of inter school competitions at the local, state and national school competitions on Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) 

P Each country will promote cognitive development on the sports through school internal and external examinations.

Q Promotes curricular (i.e knowledge) of activities on the sports 

R Promotes recreational activities in the school with the sports wherever possible.

S Promotes inter-country championships.  

T Promotes provision of facilities on the sports.

U Promotes standardizing facilities on the sports and have agenda/plan of number of years to promote particular sports before promoting them to a higher level. 

V Grouping the sports for promotion 

W Books on the sports

X ICT on the sports

Y Streaming on the sports

Z afrotradosports TV etc 

  1. Using Tourism Outlets To Promote Our Traditional/Ethno Sports (In Nigeria As An Example)

These tourism outlets are varied and dynamic. A good number of them include:

  1. Through Traditional Rulers or through traditional events/festivals. These two-in-one outlets always or in most cases go together e.g 
  1. Olojo festival of the Ooni of Ife in Osun State, Nigeria. The Ooni could adopt Ayo, Africa Billiards, Traditional  Wrestling or multiple traditional Sports to go with the festival. Could start a week to the festival proper. (However, the Royal fathers can host the sports championship separately).
  2. The Osun Osogbo Festival could adopt any of the Traditional Sports as part of the festival and provide a permanent pavilion for the arena of the championship.
  3. The Igue Festival of the Oba of Benin or The Oba of Benin Traditional Sports Championship which debuted in 2001
  4. The Oba of Lagos Ayo National Championship which debuted in 1997 
  5. The Ofala festival, of the Obi of Onitsha, Anambra State, Eze Njamanze Traditional Sports, Owerri, Imo State etc 
  6. The Argungun fishing festival  had already started having some traditional sports during the fishing festival. However, this need to be highly stepped up. We also have the Yawuri Emirate Festival etc the other countries in African should identify the structured platforms that can accommodate and promote Traditional Sports like those stated above.
  1. (i) V.I.P: Traditional/Ethno Sports Festival e.g Current Heads of State’s cup, Governor’s cup, Chairman of Local Government Traditional Sports Championship, Senators, House of Representative Members etc

(ii) Former HeadS of States living or dead, sports philanthropists etc

Companies e.g Conglomerate brands, International Brands, Up and coming companies etc, country clubs e.g Club De Royal, Ayegbaju-Ekiti. 

  1. Patriotic Agenda:

Patriotism: Pride: This is putting our Traditional/Ethno Sports to be in flagship champions e.g

  1. Be in the (All) Africa Games 
  2. Be in the Commonwealth Games 
  3. Be in the Olympic Games 

This is very important for the children of Africa because as at today (2021 January), none of African Indigenous Sports is even a scoring event at the (All) Africa Games not to talk of Commonwealth Games or the Olympic Games. We should note that the five interlocking rings with five different colours depicting the five major continents of the world as the symbol of the Olympic Games, our own black ring, placed in the centre is a barren ring so to say as there is no African Indigenous Sports in the Olympic Games. 

4. National Agenda:

Each of our (54) countries in Africa (as at today 2021) should have sports policy that will not just accommodate her own Traditional/Indigenous/Ethnosports but should be ready to seriously document, develop, promote and modernize the sports for easier and attractive acceptance by the youths and for export to other African countries and the world over. The sports should be actively engaged in the National Sports Festivals of such countries and be widely and actively publicized. Intellectualism should be actively used to develop and promote the sports.  

Our Traditional Sports should be segregated into classes and be graded too. Some will be on high priority list and some on reserved list or preservation list and depending on the seriousness of the countries that have them.

The classification will be on (a) combat/martial arts (b) ball games (c) seed games (d) mat games, recreational games, games of low organization etc or leisure games etc. Experts on taxonomy of sports could be involved.

5. Recreation And Leisure

Some of our indigenous sports are very good for recreational activities apart from their quality for high quality championships. It is just like as you can recreate with football, yet it is a very high flagship championship sport. Table tennis is also used for recreation yet it is in class of the very high championship, in fact, flagship championship. We have sports like Ayo, Abula  African Billiards, Langa etc in that group in Nigeria and many African countries have theirs too.

6. Decoration and Exhibition

The genre of our indigenous sports should be among the junctions/round about decorations. They should be included for Exhibitions at International Expos etc. They could also be at the headquarters of our foreign missions e.g Ayo Boards with seeds, African Billiards boards with seeds etc.

7. Infrastructure: 

The infrastructure of our indigenous sports in Nigeria should be constructed at the centres of our National Parks for visitors to recreate with e.g Ayo Boards and pavilion, African Billiards Board and Pavilion, Abula courts (and equipment). Traditional wrestling and Dambe Boxing courts and open field for Langa. Other countries should also exhibit their own sports at such spots in their countries.

Just imagine you are a Nigerian, you are in Nairobi and find your way to Nairobi National Park, you bump into “PAVILION OF AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS” on an acre of Land. You pleasantly further discover, the stand of Ayo  and African Billiards in the pavilion or you are from South Africa and you get to Lagos Nigeria and you are told there is a secondary school nearby where they play Dibeke or you are a Ghanaian and you are taken to DRAFT PLAYING CENTRE in Surulere Area of Lagos or you are a Kenyan and you find yourself inside the Millenium Park, Abuja in Nigeria, you find yourself face to face with FIX THE RESERVE, guess how you will feel? These feelings can be brought to practical existence if we Africans, I mean our leaders, include our African Traditional Indigenous Sports in the ubiquitous bilateral relation agreements and implement the agreements faithfully and without delay. Certainly we can enjoy them practically not through imaginations. It will not be a day dreaming matter. We can make it happen when we are finally up and doing on our indigenous sports. 

So our National Parks can be very veritable sources of promoting African Traditional Indigenous Sports. 

For our indigenous/Ethno Sports to grow and develop there must be infrastructure for them especially in our schools, stadia, parks, gardens, our homes and specially dedicated centres or institutes for them.

If they have no facilities, the interested individuals would have no chance to practice and master them. Their facilities in our Tourist centres like forest reserve parks, Ikogosi warm and cold water tourist park, (Ekiti State) cultural centres like National Arts Theaters, Iganmu National Park, Abuja  etc. Definitely, the number one place to put their facilities are our schools. However the monuments in their best form will be the pavilions for them, stadia for them or the institutes for them. 

These sports are to be included or embraced by High Profile Sport Bodies such as Army Sports, Naval Sports, Airforce Sports (Armed Forces Sports) Police Games, NUGA, NIPOGA, NACEGA, NSSF, YOUTH GAMES etc. This will make our indigenous sports to be fully embedded in our society and communities all over. I can tell you with absolute confidence that Abula and Ayo featured as scoring events at the 7th NAVAL GAMES at Abeokuta

in 2005. It is Bravo! To The Nigerian Navy. 


9. Research Chairs/Awards:

Awards for researches on our indigenous sports should be instituted in our universities to encourage researches and academic activities for excellent advancements in our indigenous sports. It is just very necessary for us to go the extra mile if we are going to move very fast in moving our indigenous sports forward. We are for both the usual and extra plus ways to get there because we are too much behind others as regards sports development on the globe, especially our ethno sports/TSG.  

10. Indigenous Sports For Fitness Program: 

Adapting and adopting our indigenous sports for fitness training and national fitness program should be worked upon. Some sports of low organization may just be amalgamated to become fused together in order to be used as fitness sports. This is also where we need the universities to research into our Traditional Sports and adapting some of them as hybrid with sports from within the continent of Africa. It is possible to make fitness index for Africa by wedging these sports together from Africa indigenous background.

11. Production of Coaches:

Production of Coaches and Technical Officials through projects like (1) Train the Trainers. Some years back when the Federal Ministry of Education (Nigeria) approved Traditional Sports to be in the National School Curriculum by the 48th Session of National Council on Education, a train the trainers to train Teachers of PHE on the approved indigenous sports, was planned but later abandoned.

All Africa countries should be able to Train their coaches and Technical officials to be versed on the theory and practice of their sports. 

  1. Encouragement of continental confederations on sport to sport basis and Multisports continental bodies should exist to multiply proficiency on our Traditional Sports. The multi-sports body will organize a kind of continental Olympics for many African Traditional Sports while each confederation will be the inbuilt organization to control the standard of such specific sports that have been able to graduate to have confederations in Africa. Such progress are also dynamic and political and the bodies will view such to decide for the next level of such sports.

12. African Confederation for each sport and Multisports

Continental bodies of African Traditional Sports will accelerate the growth and development of the sports. 

13. Standardization Of Rules And Regulations     

At continental level and world level. Definitely, some sports/games will be at continental level and their rules would have to be moderated and upgraded 

Some sports have gotten very standard rules and regulations that would not give Africa continental body any headache to moderate while some need serious moderations to upgrade them. The six sports in the Rule Book of Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria are very advanced and standard. Nigeria must work on the others that have not entered the rule book. 

The number one problematic sport in Africa may be our Traditional Wrestling that can be taken care off with the marging of their divigent rules together and removing contradictory ones and give them a name like done at the Olympic Games where we have Grecoroman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, so Africa can have Afrotrado wrestling. Doing this may make African Wrestling get to the Olympic Games faster than expected.

Regional Sports Bodies e.g ECOWAS and others will help us to grow faster. Technical bodies on such selected sports should be very dynamic but caring in making rules that will make the sports go forward and retain their uniqueness.

Really, there are some sports in which their rules and regulations had already reached topmost perfection e.g the rules and regulations of Draft (which is said to be a Ghanaian Game which I also know to be very homely in Nigeria over the years. The rules of Draft are very few and may not be easily subjected to serious changes. So may be other sports. However, new good ideas can be accommodated and the technocrats on these rules must be highly knowledgeable and experienced on the sports in which they are involved and can also injects other good ideas as they say “a good reason must give way for better”.

ATTESTATION: The players, Technical Officials, Coaches, Stakeholders and Fans will attest to changes if they are better by comparisons.  

We must look forward for ideal people that will give us idea rules that will make our Traditional indigenous Sports move up and forward but should retain their uniqueness, identity, good flow and the joy in them being magnified. The intellectual property where applicable should be respected.   

14. Promotion Of Local And Continental Leagues 

This is important for our sports to be alive all the year round. Our Youths will be usefully engaged in them and this will promote peace and progress in our Youths and with our own indigenous sports of which they will be very proud of.   

15. Books On Our Traditional Sports:

Books are great sources of Documentation and Knowledge. Let there be encouragement on writing books on our Traditional/indigenous Sports. The first book on our Nigerian/African Indigenous Sports was on ABULA and AFRICAN BILLIARDS written by Mallam Elias Yusuf and published in 1990 and eventually the compilation and publishing of three editions of the Rules and Regulations of our Traditional Sports in Nigeria (1998, 2000 and 2003 respectively), there is the book on Langa by Alhaji Bako Abdu. Many PHE teachers, writers and publishers have used the sources of our rule books to write texts on traditional sports for the secondary School Education level in Nigeria along with other sport topics. Traditional Sports being in our school curriculum encourages writers to write texts on Traditional Sports as they write on other Global Sports. Even far from that, I have seen Social Studies and English Language textbooks writing on our Traditional Sports in Nigeria. This is great, we should be looking forward towards African Encyclopedia on African indigenous Sports in the near future. This can and should happen in this decade 2020/2030 for Africa Traditional/Indigenous Sports as ECOWAS Specific Regulations for African Traditional Wrestling was released in 2011. 

16. Sports Museum 

Let have sports museums or let have parts of existing museums devoted to our own Traditional Sports or we create department for our Traditional Sports in the existing museums. It is  possible. When I visited Tanzania, through EKO PROJECT of Lagos State Government, Nigeria (2013) I saw something that is like Ayo board (Mbao) in the museum where the motor cars used by President Julius Nyerere were in display. This was very encouraging to me because I am a follower of African Traditional Sports. In Nigeria, do we have Ayo Boards and seeds in our Museums? 

17. Sport Institutes On African Traditional/Indigenous Sports

Individual countries in African should set up such institutes in their own countries to take care of the peculiar situations in their countries and there should be international institutes of African Traditional Sports at least in each Region of Africa or any country that can do it. In Nigeria, we have a good number of our Indigenous/Traditional Sports that have grown beyond Nigeria and I am very much aware that the National Institute for Sports in Lagos Nigeria is already producing Higher Diploma Graduates in Traditional Sports, but it is not too much for us to have a full fledge/Indigenous International Institute for African Traditional/Indigenous Sports. Nigeria is a great leader in African Traditional Sports and must not relent on such an idea.  The economy, population, background knowledge and general interest of Nigeria can conveniently accommodate it. 

18. Encouraging Film Makers to promote African Traditional/indigenous Sports in their films. This is a great way to encourage the populace in Africa and other parts of the world to emulate our sports. They will get the picture of our sports in standard forms. Writer of films should create beautiful scenes and in fine sceneries/environment on our Traditional Indigenous sports to give us satisfaction and education (knowledge)

19. Hosting African Traditional Indigenous Sports And Games Festivals/Championships/Seminars etc

These should be done by states, countries, individuals and companies,  VIPs to support and sponsor the hosting. We should have continental championships, festivals and world festival of Traditional Sports. As we have TAFISA which has organized world festival of Traditional Sports in 1992 in Bonn (Germany) in 1996 in Bankok Thailand, in 2000; Hannover in Germany (the 2004 festival in CANADA was counseled), 2008 in Busan Korea etc. This is a sign that Africa is alreading lagging behind in hosting Traditional Sports again. We must wake up. 

By hosting our own Traditional Sports, we will get great upward development and progress and our Youths will be employed empowered, and their spirit will receive high elation. It is something great to be looking up to in Africa. This will arouse the enthusiasm of our Youths. 

We should note that countries that host African Traditional Indigenous Sports are making great contributions in helping to remove Africans from the dismal  level in which we are carrying other peoples’ sports on our heads and sadly dragging our own sports with our feet on the ground. As we have embraced other peoples sports, we should equally practice ad promote our own sports. 

In 1930, the City of Hamiton (in Canada), which is now recognized as the first host of the Commonwealth Games, provided $30,000 as traveling costs for the eleven British Empire countries that participated in the 1st Commonwealth Games which was then called British Empire Games. This is History. African countries should jostle to host and pioneer the promotion of African Indigenous Sports. In ancient Greece, the Greek city states used to declare TRUCE during wars to allow the Ancient Olympic Games to take place. This shows how they placed their sport above any issue. 

20. Modernizing Our Traditional Sports In Africa

Football finally entered its modern age and stage in 1863 when it splits into two- Association Football and Rugby Football after entering Britain as Harpastum from Rome 

The transformation of football was extra-ordinary among all sport that had traditional backgrounds. So our traditional sports in Africa can go into great transformation through modernization with injection of modern rules and regulations. However, it is not all our Traditional Sports that will receive transformation. Therefore some will remain documentated and remain in the cooler until their luck will finally shine or their useful purposes will come into the open i.e discovered.

21. Budgeting To Promote Our Traditional Indigeneous Sports   

This is very important. However, our Governments are not viewing our own indigenous sports as such. Our people also have been indoctrinated that our own things are inferior, so they are not important. So we need a more positive mindset to believe in ourselves. With good allocation of fund for the promotion of our Traditional Sports in our schools especially on making their facilities, equipment, teachers, coaches, technical officials competitions, tournaments and championships (frequently and sufficiently) available, will go a long way to change our Traditional Sports from the present moribund and abandoned wealth of our nations. 

22. Special/Spectacular Appointment e.g Minister of State (Sports)to handle our indigenous sports will not be too much. Creation of National Traditional Sports Commission in each country in Africa will do a lot of magic in uplifting our indigenous sports in Africa. We need urgent action to counter what our Africa Indigenous Sports had suffered in the past. They need reparation, yes our Traditional Sports require great compensation for the neglect of the past.   

23. Mentoring    

Leaders in the promotion of our Traditional Indigenous Sports in Africa should engage in serious positive mentoring of both young and old. They need balanced positive mindset. 

Yes, the importance of mentoring cannot be over emphasised. Some high profile mentoring have helped in bringing major breakthroughs in technology in which competitors have been brought together to combine beautifully to produce lasting high quality brands. The production of Mercedes Benz is a great example. 

This suggested template is one of the ways of mentoring ourselves in promoting our Traditional/indigenous Sports in Africa. 

I like to advise that this suggested template should be used with open mind in order to obtain the desired outcome in moving our African Traditional/Indigenous Sports from red ocean of neglect and backwardness to shift to blue ocean of goodness and popularity. 

In brining this write-up to a close, I hereby quote a paragraph from BLUE OCEAN SHIFT by W.CHAN KIM/RENEE MAUBORGNE (2017):

“We are now ready to deduce the mindset of blue ocean strategists and the distinctive ways their thinking departs from red ocean logic. The aim here is for you to understand how blue ocean strategists think so that you can embrace this logic as you embark on your own blue ocean shift journey. This mindset acts as a compass to guide your strategic direction. Without getting it right, the market-creating tools, however good, may be misapplied in action and fail to produce your intended shift. As we go through each guiding principle, think about how it allows you to begin to see opportunities where before only constraints were visible.”  

Thank you.

Mallam Elias Yusuf 


Congratulates AfCFTA as Her torch being lit today 20/01/2021.

Very soon, the torch of African Traditional Indigenous Sports will be on too. 


I must acknowledge and express my gratitudes to Mrs. Abiola K. Ogunbiyi, the current Chairman of Lagos State Traditional Sports Association for being the motivating factor for this write-up.

I received a phone call from her, inviting me to accompany her to a one day seminar organized by Nigeria Economic Summit Group which took place on 11-02-2020. The seminar was on sports industry policy in Nigeria. I was highly elated to be part of such a great gathering. 

That particular seminar was mainly for the Tourism Sector and she was given an opportunity to bring somebody along with her. 

For her being very objective in picking me for the seminar, speaks volumes as I see her as being an asset to the progress of her community. She did not only select me, she also supported my transportation to and fro Etiosa-Alimosho in this expansive city of Lagos that is fastly transforming to a SMART CITY. All these put me under a compelling pressure that I must not disappoint her great gesture in believing that, inviting me would yield a good dividend for our community. 

I just want to believe that I have been able to do something useful to justify her hands of fellowship.

Thank you Ma. 

I am equally glad that I was able to submit the above memorandum to Nigeria and also developed it to a suggested template for Africa not withstanding the tedious constraints of coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Everybody on earth today says: COVID-19 MUST GO. 



At the beginning of every new year of the Gregorian calendar, the tradition of wishing ourselves “Happy New Year” is a permanent tradition in our own society in Nigeria, here in Africa. It is spontaneous, automatic, pandemic and even somehow mandatory to wish all your people “happy new year” especially on the first day of the year and up to the end of the first month of the new year.


Closely related to this, is making new year resolutions i.e you resolve on your own volition, that you would do or not do certain things in the new year as a means of correcting the past misdeeds, misdeminous, failures, or even mistakes of the just out gone year or that of several years as the case may be.


The Gregorian year which we have just entered into, is  2020. This figure connotes, that the year is the beginning of a new decade. And “decades” have become working “tools” in planning and executing plans in this modern era. It is a very popular periodic benchmark of measuring progress of plans over the years. 


Probably, the most popular beginning of a new decade was the year 2000 which was also the beginning of a new millennium followed by 2010 and this 2020 year.


So for this, is now going for a prayerful wish and resolution for African Indigenous Traditional Sports and Games by saying MAY AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS AND GAMES RECORD WONDERFUL BREAK THROUGHS IN THIS 2020 – 2030 DECADE, amen. Yes, now we have put God first and I know it is not that we have prayed, then the task we now do itself. No, far from it. The prayer is like our theme; our vision and our mission towards achieving this goal for this new decade as embedded in our prayer. 


We started the process of promoting African Traditional Sports, running to over three decades now. In the year 2000, Nigeria participated in the 3rd World Festival of Traditional Sports organized by TAFISA in Hannover Germany. Nigeria’s delegation was from Sport for All Nigeria, an affiliate of Nigeria Olympic Committee that relates to the International Olympic Committee. The team was made up of eleven members who presented Nigerian dances at the festivals. A few other African countries that participated did not present anything spectacular or as distinct as Nigeria’s presentation. Nigeria would had participated at the second World Festival of Traditional Sports hosted by Thailand in Bankcock in 1996 but for lack of sponsors as Sport for All Nigeria gave the opportunity to Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) to handle, but NATS could not secure sponsors for the trip. In the 1990s. Traditional Sports in Nigeria were promoted by three different distinct groups without disturbing each other. They were:


  1. The Federal Ministry of Education which organized the first National Seminar on Traditional Sports in Nigeria with the theme: Popularising Nigerian Indigenous Games in Nigerian Schools (1993) and National Committee Workshop setting and harmonizing Rules and Regulations to guide the teaching and playing of Traditional Sports in all Educational Institutions in Nigeria. Then the National Council on Education (NCE), approved Traditional Sports for the National School Curriculum (2001) in Nigeria.  


  1. The Sport for All Nigeria (SFAN) group which secured three International Olympic Committee patronages for different Traditional Sports events in Nigeria. 
  1. Abula Ball Game in 1994 
  2. National Traditional Sports Festival (1998)  
  3. Trado/Cultural Sports Carnival, (2003) and


SFAN also attended the 3rd World Festival of Traditional Sports which dovetailed into Expo 2000 in Hannover Germany, then the 4th and 5th editions in Busan, Korea (2008) and Siaullai, Lithuania (2012).


  1. The Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) which was inaugurated as a National Sports Association (on Traditional Sports) by the National Sports Commission in Nigeria (1993), organized the first National Traditional Sports and Games Festival in Nigeria in 1994. When it later transformed to Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) in 2002, she became the first Sports Federation in Africa to demonstrate Africa Indigenous Sports at the All Africa Games since the inception of the All Africa Games in Congo in 1965. The demonstration of African Traditional Sports at the 8th All African Games in Abuja 2003 had this evolutionary slogan: All Africa Games is not complete without African Indigenous Sports. 


25012020 article pic 1



25012020 article pic 2


The Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) presented Abula Game, Ayo, Dambe and Kokawa to COJA for the demonstration. However, a para game which was also invented in Nigeria had to be added, so the sports actually demonstrated were: Ayo, Dambe, Kokawa and Para Soccer. That made Nigeria to be the first country to demonstrate Africa Indigenous Sports at the All Africa Games. Nigeria equally seized the opportunity to organize a continental conference at the 8th All Africa Games for the Formation of Confederation of African Indigenous Sports (CONAIS) but some intrigues did not allow the confederation to function. 


The demonstration done in 2003 supposed to have been followed up at Algiers 2007, alas! it was not. However, there was another demonstration of African Traditional Sports at the All Africa Games in Congo. The two sports demonstrated were Nzango and Pharaoh Boxing by Congo and Egypt respectively (2015).


Alas! again, at Morocco (2019) no African Sports participated at the African Games. Alas! none was demonstrated anew and none of those earlier demonstrated featured. That’s the disjointed promotion of African Traditional Sports at the All Africa Games. Should it continue like that?  


However, there have been some regional championships or invitational championships in which some countries have become very popular for. Foremost is the Dakar Wrestlings, EKOWAS Games, Niamey, Garbon Wrestlings. Other parts of Africa have their isolated championships in the last three decades in trying to promote African Traditional Indigenous Sports and Games locally.   


Between 2001 – 2005, there was a serious articulate preparation to host first African Festival of Traditional Sports in Lagos Nigeria. This did not pull through too. There were practicing of our African Indigenous Sports in isolated, unrefined and not the desired level of inspirational celebrations in the countries that have them to the expectations of this modern era.


In this new decade of 2020 – 2030, these are some of the main problems to tackle on and to resolve in favour of African Traditional indigenous Sports.


Some of the Main Problems of African Traditional Indigenous Sports and Games:

  1. Not being  in the Olympic Games
  2. Not being in the Commonwealth Games 
  3. Not being in All Africa Games   
  4. Not being organized as a World Cup e.g Abula World Cup, African Billiards World Cup, Ayo World Cup, Langa World Cup, Nzango World Cup, Pharaoh Boxing World Cup etc. 
  5. Not in many National Sports Festivals in the individual countries 
  6. Not being played in the schools of their countries of origin 
  7. Not in the national school curriculum of the Education Systems of the African Countries 
  8. The universities do not show interest in them at all (no experts)
  9. No facilities for them in their countries of origin
  10. They have been suffering from perdition since the advent of slave trade, colonialism, neocolonialism and now at the verge of extinction and in fact, some have probably gone on extinction against the value enunciated by UNESCO tagged “Verona declaration of promotion of Traditional Sports in schools” (2015).
  11. Being ignored by Governments 
  12. Being rejected because of crude/poor presentation as in the binocular of neocolonialism 
  13. Being sidelined by power of foreign sports through colonialists
  14. Not very accessible to the youths 
  15. Electricity has electrocuted those of them done under the moonlight.
  16. Lack of written materials on African Traditional Sports
  17. Written History of African Traditional Sports, no encyclopedia on them as on Western Sports
  18. Since universities are not involved, no modern researches on them.
  19. Hardly used in African films
  20. No teachers, that will teach children on Traditional Sports
  21. Specialized coaches that will train athletes 
  22. Training of coaches i.e train the trainers.
  23. Making the sports attractive with money in it. 
  24. Waiting indefinitely etc.


What is Africa waiting for in promoting her African Traditional Sports? May be 

  1. Foreign investors
  2. Foreign sponsors 
  3. Foreign rules and regulations 
  4. Foreign motivators 
  5. Foreign instructors 
  6. Foreign equipment 
  7. Foreign facilities 
  8. Foreign coaches 
  9. Foreign Technical Advisers
  10. Foreign Designers
  11. Foreign Media etc.


Waiting! is Africa actually waiting?

No, Africa is virtually starting to wake up from a deep slumber on African Traditional Sports. The mindset of our current elite leaders in Africa has started  transiting from neocolonialism of only eagering to collect medals from flagship sports championships into contributing medals in the new Africa initiatives. “Henceforth, equal energy would be spent on the development of our traditional sports and the alien sports” (Chief Alex Akinyele, 1993). As we collect medals, so also we should contribute medals. That should be the spirit and goal of 2020-2030 decade. So in this new decade, Africa should now work to produce gold medals as well as to collect gold medals. It should be symbiotic.      


May be, it is not too wrong to postulate that Africa needs to develop her traditional indigenous sports and games so that she will develop very well like the other continents of the world. 


It should be noted that for the past three to four decades when attention started on waking up African traditional sports and Games, a good number of the sports that gained some attention are just crawling. They are yet to stand up and walk not to talk of running or flying. For the sports to rise up and fly, deafening campaigns and very deliberate and determined efforts on the paths of the leaders in Africa to effect such efforts that will ensure terrific progress for African Traditional Indigenous Sports through flagship projects and championships in this 2020 – 2030 decade should be put in place now. 


May African Traditional Sports and Games record wonderful breakthroughs in this 2020 – 2030 decade, amen. 


Happy New Year,

Better New Decade 


For all of us and,

Our Traditional 

Sports and Games 


Mallam Elias Yusuf 




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By the records of WIKIPEDIA, from Independence in 1960, till this December 2019, Nigeria has produced over 40 Ministers of Education including Ministers of State, Education.


In the same vain, Nigeria should have probably produced about the same number of Ministers of Sports (Youth and Sports) including National Sports Commission Chairmen or Sole Administrator(s) of the National Sports Commission (from 1960 – 2019).


By the discovery of, six friendly personalities have been identified  to be AFROTRADOSPORTS FRIENDLY among the lot that were supposed to have held sway in these three-in-one platform of being Ministry of Sports, National Sports Commission and Ministry of Education in Nigeria. In fact, it was also further discovered that the three groups produced two representative each to cover the three of them. There were two from National Sports Commission, two from Ministry of Sports and two from the Ministry of Education.


From afrotradosports perspective, that is the six, that merited this list. However, anybody or group can select their own six or more or even none from this six. To us in afrotradosports, these six are the ones. We will give you the narrative that crown them with the accolade of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS IN NIGERIA. 


In a paper title: AN OVERVIEW OF MODERN DEVELOPMENTS OF TECHNICAL GROWTH OF NIGERIAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS by Mallam Elias Yusuf on 26th November, 2012 at the Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) coaching clinic  which held at the National Stadium Surulere, Lagos in preparation for EKO 2012, the 18th National Sports Festival in Nigeria, a build up  for the formation of National Sport’s Association for our Traditional sports in Nigeria was given as follows:



To really promote our Traditional Sports in the real perspective, a sport association had to be formed. Formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) was really very dramatic and intriguing.

In 1990, a book titled “Abula and African Billiards was written by Mallam Elias Yusuf, the inventor of the Abula Game. The Abula game itself was invented in 1984 and the African Billiards in 1988.  


In 1992, Mallam Yusuf made a video tape on Abula and African Billiards. As Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu had been in the same school complex at Idi-Araba High School, Mushin, Lagos State, they came up with a decision to present the video tape on Abula and African Billiards to the “Force House” which was the popular name given to the building, housing the then National Sports Commission near Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos.


The duo of Mallam Elias Yusuf and Mr. S.A Daudu presented this tape on Abula and African Billiards to the Chairman of the National sports Commission through Dr. Amos Adamu the then Assistant Director of Sports in Nigeria in the company of Dr. Dongoyaro. That was the final push that brought about the formation of Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports in 1993.


Langa had been demonstrated … at Kaduna National Sports Festival, it did not muster enough force to lead to the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria because it was to form an association on its own. However, as well articulate rules and regulations were put in place in Abula and African Billiards, this accelerated the formation of Traditional Sports Association in Nigeria under the aegis of NIGERIA ASSOCIATION OF TRADITIONAL SPORTS (NATS) under the Chairmanship of Dr. Alh. G.N Hamza in 1993, the 1st NATS Chairman.  


Haven given you fairly detailed preamble that led to the formation of traditional Sports Association in Nigeria, here is the inauguration by Chief Alex Akinyele, live and direct with this historic speech:











I am delighted to be with everyone of you here today for yet another Inauguration Ceremony. This time, it is for the Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports which had been on the drawing board for quite sometimes now.


We are all aware that traditional sports as acrobatics, Ayo, Canoeing, Horse racing, Boxing, Wrestling, Arrow-shooting, Swimming etc. are ways of life in Nigeria. They are what we do as ways of fending for ourselves through occupations like fishing, hunting, farming and transporting. 


These traditional sports are also used as past time events even though their places in cultural rites, rituals and initiation ceremonies cannot be over-emphasied. Paramount among these sports are wrestling and boxing which were widely known among all the tribes in Nigeria before the advent of the Colonial Masters. We can recall that to the Hausas,


 Wrestling is known as “KOKAWA” …. as it is “NGBA” to the IBOS and the YORUBAS as “IJAKADI”.


We have woken up from slumbers today when the realization of annihilating these traditional sports stared us on our bare faces. Other world communities have registered their existence on earth with the international recognition accorded to their traditional sports. We can mention few of these sports among many of them. They are JUDO, KARATE, KONFU, TAEKWONDO, ROWING, ARCHERY, SHOOTING and so on and so forth.


In the same vain, we are inaugurating a body that will establish our traditional sports as other countries have done. For years, we have spent millions of naira on the development and practice of sports alien to Nigeria at the expense of our traditional sports. That was pardonable because of our colonial past when everything European was seen as better and no conscious effort was made to harness and develop our traditional sports. Henceforth, equal energy would be spent on the development of our traditional sports and the alien sports. 



    1. Identify and document traditional and invented games;
    2. Document rules and regulations of all traditional and invented games
    3. Modernize rules and regulations of traditional and invented games. 
    4. Formulate rules and regulations for the playing of traditional sports where necessary. 
    5. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games. To benefit from the experience of the public 
    6. Organize exhibition of traditional and invented games


  • Demonstrate traditional and invented at the national sports festival.


  1. Export traditional and invented games to other countries in order to improve Nigeria’s image abroad and earn foreign exchange through companionships and personnel training for other countries.
  2. Train traditional and invented games referees and other technical officials.
  3. Draw up the calendar of activities for the games. 
  4. Seek sponsorship of the games within Nigeria.
  5. Undertake any other business with respect to the development of the games. 



  1. Alhaji (Dr.) Hamza – Chairman 
  2. The Seven (7) Zonal Co-ordinators Member
  3. Mr. Mike Okpala (Power Mike) Member
  4. A representative each from SDD and PR&S Member
  5. Dr. T.O Adewoye (Ayo Guru) Member
  6.  Mr. Audu Bako (Great Traditional Sport Enthusiast)- Sport Member
  7. Mr. D. Omoifo Ejiy (Marksbal Inventor) Member
  8. Mr. Kayode Ojobi (Trainscore Inventor) Member
  9. Mr. L.O Oke (Ringball Inventor) Member
  10. Sports Development To Provide Secretary 


(And the first Sec. Gen. of the Sports Association was Mr. Peter Abiche)


After the delivery of this speech by the Chief, what would have happened? Definitely, the Chief being a crowd puller, the towering figure of the Chief, the broad smile on his face, the loud and clear voice, the commanding tone, all the gesticulations and paraphernalia of a cultural man, who was a public relation outstanding personality, ditching out an historic speech, please what would have happened?


I was not there but I guess it would be an automatic thunderous applause. And the MC of the occasion would go further and say “Another round of applause”. I know, if I were there, I would have automatically stood up because of my belief in what the chief had just done and , accomplished, I would begin to clap and some other people would automatically stand up to join me and the whole hall would join to give a STANDING OVATION, especially to a man who defeated the PERDITION that had been visited on African Traditional Sports over the years spanning the age of slave trade, colonialism and neocolonialism. Definitely, I am aware that the Chief was the JAGUNMOLU of Ipetu ijesha, I could see that afrotradosport also sees him as JAGUNMOLU of African Traditional Sports apart from being a FRIENDLY MINISTER OF AFRICAN TRADITIONAL SPORTS. It should be very clear that anybody who headed the Commission as Executive Chairman or Sole Administrator is the Minister of Sports for that period he was there on sports matters in Nigeria. In fact, sometime, a Minister would be formerly pronounced as minister and Chairman of the National Sports Commission. I know that the Chief was formerly a Minister of Information of this Federal Republic of Nigeria.   


I was so fascinated by the Chief’s achievement on this our traditional sports that when I became the President of Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (2001 – 2005) I payed him a visit in his private outfit in Surulere area in Lagos. I went in company of my very close colleague, Mr. Samuel Ajayi Daudu. With a wonderful warm reception, he gave us a pleasant surprise. He just called somebody to bring Ayo board and called for a match. Oh! What a way of entertaining a visitor. Certainly the Chief was a good player of Ayo Game, especially the Yoruba version of the Ayo Game. He showed that he was not just theoretical in promoting our Traditional Sports, he was practical in playing our Traditional Sports of which Ayo is a great example and representative.(privately worldwide)


As Ambassador of African Traditional Sports, I wish to pay this tribute to the Chief on behalf of Traditional Sports Coaches, Athletes, Technical Officials and Administrators in Africa, that providence will make Ayo game available to you for your enjoyment in heaven if that condition applies there. Your historic seed, on African Traditional Indigenous Sports will yield dividends to the extend of playing African Indigenous Sports at the Olympic Games very soon. 


Chief, maje okun, maje ekolo, ohun tiwon ban je lajule orun ni kio ba won yotomi re. 


Adieu Chief, Paradise is your new abode.


Mallam Elias Yusuf 



  1. To write about TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS have been in the pipeline for long, but when I read many write-ups about the Chief after his demise I noted that nothing was mentioned about what afrotradosports considers as one of his historic contributions and achievements, hence this part 1 of TRADITIONAL SPORTS FRIENDLY MINISTERS is fully devoted to the Chief. 

2. I hope the MOC and LOC of EDO 2020 will use the speech of Chief Alex Akinyele in totality to make all sports in TSFN rule book to be scoring at EDO 2020. It is possible, “the labour of our heroes past, shall never be in vain.”







– By Elias Foluso Yusuf.

{Culled from THE CHALLENGE, LAGOS STATE ANCOPSS (All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools) Bulletin Vol. 7 Nov. 2014}


According to the Nigeria National School Curriculum on Physical Education for Junior Secondary Schools in Nigeria, published by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC 2007), Abula is now listed as one of the subject matters to be taught in all Junior Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

Before Abula got to this lofty height, it went through divers’ forms of scrutiny at seminars, competitions, presentations and others.

Going through the memory lane, Abula was invented and first fully and successfully played on 8th February, 1984 at Idi-Araba High School, Mushin, Lagos State, Nigeria. It was invented by Mr. Elias Foluso Yusuf, the then sports master of the Idi-Araba High School.

In 1993, the National Sports Commission inaugurated Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) and Abula became automatic member sport of the association.

The First National Coaching Clinic on Abula Game was conducted by the Abula Association of Nigeria which later transformed to Abula Federation of Nigeria under the leadership of late Alhaji A.B. Fashola and Mr. G. A. T. Oboh in 1996 as a non-governmental sport organization.

The final ratification for Abula was at a Technical Seminar held during the Joint Consultative Committee on Education (2001) which recommended the game amongst others to the National Council on Education, this gave final approval for the game to be included in the National Curriculum under Prof. Babalola Aborishade, the then Minister of Education. A handbook of Rules and Regulations, guiding playing and teaching of selected Nigerian Traditional Sports, was issued.

In the forward to this Handbook, written by Dr. U. B. Ahmed, he stated as follows:

I am highly delighted to write the forward to this epoch making text on traditional sports in Nigeria.

The choice of Abula, Ayo, Langa and Kokawa amongst the traditional sports in Nigeria is based on many years of experience and involvement of the Resource Persons in teaching and active participation in the sport. I wish to acknowledge the contributions of the Resource Persons, prominent among them is Professor Chado, A. B. U. Zaria, Mr. Elias Foluso Yusuf (originator of Abula and former National Chairman of Traditional Sports), Mrs. Rose Adiole and Alhaji Bako Abdul who worked with the Sport, Physical and Health Education Branch of this Ministry (FME) to modify and standardize the rules and regulations to guide the teaching and playing of the sports.

afrotrad 10222018


This publication will be useful to teachers, institutions and students in the proper mastery of the four traditional sports approved by the National Curriculum on Education for introduction to Primary and Secondary Schools in Nigeria.

Dr. U. B. Ahmed was the Director, Primary and Secondary Education, Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja (2001).

Sequel to the above, Abula is now expected to be in the school syllabus in all the states of the federation. Abula is on page 384; schemes of work published in September, 2009 and page 316 September 2010 in Lagos State.

Apart from this educational sector, Abula has grown tremendously in other sectors of the society e.g. gaining International Olympic Committee Patronage through Sport for All Nigeria and the Nigeria Olympic Committee in 1994; becoming a demonstration Sport at the 10th National Sports Festival, Benue’ 96 and eventually becoming medal scoring event at the National Sports Festival at Imo’98. Since Imo’98, Abula has been producing three gold medals at the biennial National Sports Festivals in Nigeria. So, it was one of the team sports that were competed for in 2011 National Sports Festival, Garden City Games, Port Harcourt, producing medals in Male, Female and Mixed Team categories, (i.e. it is producing three gold medals at the biennial National sports Festivals). It also became a medal scoring event at the 7th Naval Games in 2005 in Abeokuta.

The emancipation of the Abula game is a pride to all of us in the Education sector especially in Lagos, Nigeria and Africa where this game was invented. We should remember that games like Volleyball, Basketball… etc. were invented by individuals and developed in the environment of invention and they have eventually become Global Sports.

So, if Abula is established in every Primary and Secondary School in Lagos State and Nigeria, it will automatically become a Global Sport within a very short time without much hassle. As they say charity begins at home.

In a new effort to propagate the Abula game, a Programme named: SAY YES TO ABULA was proposed at the 27th anniversary of Abula game (February 8 – 1984-2011) to encourage schools in providing the infrastructure of the Abula Game to students of the schools as both study and playing materials.  SAY YES TO ABULA in your school as the National Curriculum of Nigeria has said YES to ABULA.

mallam elias yusuf
Elias Foluso Yusuf, the Inventor of
Abula (game) and former Principal,
Ajeromi-Ifelodun Junior High School,
Olodi-Apapa, Ajegunle, Lagos.




Lagos State (Nigeria) started a championship on Traditional Sports among the Secondary Schools in the state in 2016 and held the second edition in 2018. The sports involved were ABULA, AYO, KOKAWA (Traditional wrestling) and LANGA. There is need to put the infrastructure and equipment of playing the sports in the schools. Other states of the Nigeria Federation should follow this giant stride which is in the right direction in promoting our traditional sports in our schools. Bravo, Lagos State.

As the championship was started by late Mr. Deji Tinubu, let the championship be named after him as: DEJI TINUBU MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR LAGOS STATE SECONDARY SCHOOLS ON TRADITIONAL SPORTS.