Traditional Physical Education And Sports in Nigeria

Welcome to today’s class!!

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In today’s Physical and Health Education class, we will be learning about Traditional Physical Education And Sports in Nigeria.

Traditional Physical Education And Sports in Nigeria

Sports are considered to be as old as humanity itself. So, every country is known for its various sports, to consider as a way of uniting and building peace among themselves. Nigeria is no exception as it has its own traditional forms of sports events rooted in its culture and tradition.

Though many do not know it, Nigeria has some interesting sports which have been in existence before the introduction of foreign sports. 

Let’s consider some traditional sports in Nigeria. 

  • Dambe (Boxing)

traditional physical education sports

Dambe is derived from the Hausa word, meaning box. This can be said to be a form of traditional boxing that has to do with the Hausa cultural group in Nigeria.

The Dambe is dominated by butchers, the game also prepares men against war and to learn new techniques and terminology. The events always take place to mark the harvest period, the locals travel to different villages in commemoration of the day while they engage themselves in a fight.

However, there are different varieties of boxing in Nigeria, depending on the culture and the part of the country which determines the form and the kind of boxing. 

Dambe is among the varieties of the traditional fight which remind people of their traditional boxing.

While playing traditional boxing, the players must have their fists covered on a bandage, and the over fist will remain wrapped. 

The fight always takes place in the middle of circle sand. The rule is, if one of the players steps out of the circle, he will be announced disqualified, which means he has been defeated. 

  • Kokawa (Wrestling)

traditional physical education sports

This is a traditional kind of wrestling. This has a close relationship with Nigerian sports and it is connected to the traditional rules and customs.

Kokawa is done to serve as a pass for agreeing for a man to have a hand in marrying a woman. Here if a man sees a lady and he is interested or wants to ask for her hand in marriage, a day will be set aside for the two interested strong men to engage themselves in Kokawa (Wrestling) and whoever wins will be given the lady to marry. This only takes place during festive periods.

Here, the men battle in a circle to determine the strongest and who gets the lady to marry. However, the circle is six meters wide and whoever steps out of the circle is considered defeated. 

The fight, therefore, comes in different categories. Where there are always three rounds of the fight.

  • Abula


Abula is very close to modern volleyball. There are eight players in each one, four from every side. The rest of the team members are waiting on a bench to substitute their teammates. But there is a main distinction between volleyball and Abula. Playing volleyball players must use their hands to hit the ball, but in Abula, players need a wooden bat to do it. The winner is the team which gets the highest points.

  • Ayo


Ayo is a Yoruba board game. This game has become very popular in many African countries, not only in Nigeria. To play this game you should be very clever, quick and nimble. The game usually requires two dexterous players who are trying to get more seeds. There are twelve holes in the game: six ones on each of the sides. Every hole in its turn contains four seeds. The size of the board is 0.8m to 1.2m. The players are allowed to act for thirty seconds. The anticlockwise format is applied. The one who gets more seeds than the opponent does, will be the winner.


In summary, Nigeria traditional sports which includes Ayo, Dambe, Abula, Kokawa and others are sports activities that has been and continues to be enjoyed by Nigerians. 



How many traditional sports activities were taught in today’s class? List them and explain two of them.


Reading Assignment

Explain two reasons why people participated in traditional sports.


Weekend Assignment

List any five sports activities carried out by people in your state. 


We hope you enjoyed today’s class. In our next class, we will be talking about  Athletics And Sports.

Let us know your thoughts and questions in the comment section, and we will attend to them as fast as we can.

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