LAGOS – The Chairman, Lagos State Traditional Sports Association, Bash Agusto, on Monday urged governments and the organised private sector to develop indigenous sports like others.
Agusto told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that with government’s intervention, sponsorship by traditional rulers, individuals and corporate bodies, the sports would be popular and assume international status.
NAN reports that the traditional sports are Kokowa (traditional wrestling), Dambe (traditional boxing), Langa, Ayo and Abula
Agusto said that the neglect of traditional sports had robbed it of followers, acceptability and development.
“The level of traditional sports’ development in the state is not commensurate with the years of their existence,” he said.
He noted that traditional sports were supposed to be occupying a strategic position in the country’s sport sector.
“In a society that fancies foreign ideas and products like ours, you should know that local things will definitely suffer; that is the problem facing the development of traditional sports.
“We are trying all we can to give it a facelift but the general problems affecting sports’ development has not given us the opportunity to develop our native sports,’’ he said.
According to him, many traditional sports in the country should have become famous locally and internationally if they had been accorded adequate attention.
Agusto, who decried the non-inclusion of Africa’s origin traditional sports at the All African Games, called on governments to promote local sports for more integration of the country.
“I stand to be corrected, but as far as I know, traditional sports have not been given the expected role at the All African Games.
“If we do not have our traditional sports in the local games, why can’t we have it at the international level like at the Olympics?
“Our indigenous sports play a unifying role thus giving meaning to the much needed interpersonal, communal and tribal relationship in Africa,’’ he said.
He also condemned the lack of interest by individuals and corporate bodies in sponsoring traditional sports which, he said, had been affecting its growth and popularity. (NAN)