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  

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