ABULA GAME @ 39 on 08/02/2023


  1. Plastic Bat first used to play Abula game. That plastic broke and could not work without plank on it C:\Users\user\Desktop\Olorunsogo\IMG_8559.JPG
  1. Plastic with plank laced on it worked in playing the game at Idi-Araba High School, Mushin, Lagos State. Abula Game was successfully played for the first time in history on 08/02/1984



  1. Several players used this plastic with plank bats for five years (1984 – 1989)C:\Users\user\Desktop\999.jpg
  1. The real ABULA BAT designed by Mallam Elias Yusuf came to be successfully used on 10-10-1989 at Ajumoni Secondary School, Iyana-Isolo, Mushin, Lagos State, Nigeria where Mallam Yusuf was the Ag. Vice Principal of the school then. 

This abula bat looks very simple, yet it is very sophisticated and excellently suitable for playing the Abula Game. It is beautiful and very unique. It is very safe in playing the game. It has moved the game forward and across boarders. 

Abula Bat for Abula Bat for Junior Abula bat for Senior 

Primary School Secondary School Secondary, College

And Universities

  1. Primary School Abula Bats 

frontage backside 

  1. Junior Secondary, School Abula Bat 

frontage backside 

  1. Senior Secondary, Colleges and Universities

Abula Game’s Bat 

Frontage backside 

  1. Righty players


  1. Lefty players 


  1. Double receiver to absorb heavy smashing 


  1. Middle handle: scarcely used but strengthen the bat’s structure. 


  1. As a result of this standard Abula bat the height of the net for both Primary and Junior Secondary has to be raised from 2.20m to 2.24m because of the longer reach of the (new) standard Abula bat.

@ 39


ABULA GAME [08/02/2023]

Mallam Elias Yusuf 

N.B: Abula Game as an arrowhead in the popularization of African Indigenous Sports needs to be fortified in the giving of information that will make people to understand it faster and better and thus should be sustainable. The six foremost Traditional Sports in Nigeria that have been receiving some relevant attentions in recent years in Nigeria, are ABULA, AYO, DAMBE, KOKAWA, LANGA and ARIN-AKWE (African Billiards). Some other ones are Abili, Bojubju, Gbadigbadi, Mudesi, Ege etc. sharing pertinent and relevant information are very key to progress. Thank you



























LAGOS, the former capital city of Nigeria, a city reputed to be of aquatic splendor and also where the name of LAGOS STATE (Nigeria) was derived in 1967 when it was created, is also a city of marvelous cultural extravaganza in various forms. Such cultural extravangazas include:

  1. MUSIC: Cultural music like GBEDU which is the Royal Music for the Oba of Lagos with fantastic lyrics and rhythm is highly stylish in dance steps and movements. Socio-cultural music such as juju, owambe, apala, sakara, sekere, fuji and mixed or hybrids of the cultural musics with western music like ‘high life’, afro, hiphop and congo musics make Lagos the centre of music and musician giants in Africa and the world over now (2022). 
  1. WEARS: Cultural apparels like Agbada, Gbariye, Buba and Soro, Dansiki, Kembe, Gobi, Abeti Aja, Akete etc for male, Buba, Iro, Gele, Iborun, Ipele, Oja-Iponmo, Awotele, Yeeri, Kaba (Gown) etc for females with sophisticated new styles especially in the aso-ebi system (extended family uniforms during any celebration). 
  1. FOOD: Cultural food that are also traditional to Lagos are the popular Lagos jollof rice, eba, white rice, iyan, amala with abula soup which are very popularly served in the parties thrown by the Yorubas in Lagos and the South-West of Nigeria. Other food that are also cultural are akara, moin-moin, ewa, beans & dodo, white rice, ofada rice, dundu, ibeeni-agbado, booli are cultural and traditional to Lagos.
  1. SPORTS: The cultural sports of Lagos include swimming, ijakadi, ise/ege which is also called aarin in the whole of South-West of Nigeria, Ayo the seed game of the Yorubas has also been very popular in this Lagos megacity from time immemorial. This now leads us to ask “What is a Traditional Sport?” 
  1. EUROPE: Europe, the ancestral home to documented sports in the world simply view or refer to “Traditional Sports” as ICH, that is, Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Mallam Elias Yusuf out rightly defined a Traditional Sport as follows:

A sport is indigenous into the niche, town, locality, state, country and the continent in which the sport was invented. As the sport is being practiced over and over, over the years, it becomes a traditional sport of the place and its immediate environment from where it was invented. It should be noted that Ancient Olympic Games were based on Tradition and stageD as Traditional Sports/Games of the Helenic people of Greece made up of several city states, such as Athens, Sparta, Thebes etc. 

It may become a tradition of playing that newly invented sport/game at a particular season of the year or may be it is selected to mark certain annual celebration or festival in the town or state of invention. Therefore it has now grown to be called traditional sport of that area. Eventually it has become a traditional sport of that niche, town, council, state, region and continent it was invented.

When such a sport becomes very popular and is able to cross borders, it has graduated to international and may become global when it goes worldwide. Before gaining a global accreditation, it must have received a lot of polishing. 

However, when we refer to African indigenous sports, we are referring to sports that originated from any part of the continent of Africa, remembering that African continent is one of the five continental sport blocks in the world. That is the reason why we have continental sport bodies like COJA, CAF, ANOCA, CONAIS, ATWA, ATSGC, ICTSG etc and the five rings of Olympic Games’ symbol with Africa being represented by the central black ring of the symbol. Alas! that ring is an empty ring as there is no African indigenous sport inside the ring (philosophically speaking) that has graduated to be in the Commonwealth or Olympic Sports lists..

It should be noted that we have many indigenous Traditional Sports from Africa and some of them have become quite very popular and well known e.g. Ayo and Kokawa (Traditional Wresting). Some are rising very rapidly to popularity too, such as Abula, Langa, Dambe and African Billiards. These six sports gained this ascendancy to popularity in Nigeria because they have well defined and articulate rules and regulations that have been frequently subjected to high class usage during the National Sports Festival in Nigeria, ECOWAS and other African Countries with high class championships in traditional Sports and serious scrutiny in the coaching and technical clinics usually organized by TSFN before the biennial National Sports Festival in Nigeria.


The invention of Abula Game in 1984 and that of African Billiards in 1988 at Idi-Araba High School and Ajumoni Secondary School, Iyana Isolo respectively both at Mushin L.G.A by Mallam Elias Yusuf, brought a lot of publicity that drew great attention for the need to promote our Traditional Sports in Nigeria as the seat of the Federal Government of Nigeria was still in Lagos City then. The capital city of Nigeria was moved to Abuja on 12 December 1991. On 25th April, 1985 there was a public demonstration of the Abula game which was covered by NAT 7 and which was televised on 26TH April and 2nd May 1985. It was covered by Mr. Tunde Olaore. 

This enthusiasm in promotion of Traditional Sports in the world had also started off in Europe too through UNESCO and her allies that are interested in promoting culture in what has been tagged intangible cultural heritage (ICH). This ICH fever swept over Europe like hammartan and such allies interestingly include the International Olympic Committee, The TAFISA, Cultural Sports Festivals around the world, especially the TOCATI FESTIVAL IN VERONA, ITALY, the Ethnosports in Canada, the inclusion of Asian Traditional Sports in ASIAN GAMES, the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) etc

TAFISAL, an affiliate of IOC started to organize World Festival of Traditional Sports in the year 1992 in Bonn Germany. The second one took place at Bangkok TAILAND in 1996 which Nigerian contingent missed when NATS that was given the franchise by SFAN could not get sponsors to foot the bill of attending the festival. However in the year 2000, the third world festival of Traditional Sports which dovetailed into EXPO 2000 in Hannover Germany took place and a contingent of 11 represented Nigeria from Sports For All Nigeria under the hospices of Nigeria Olympic Committee, National Stadium Surulere took part substantially with presentation of some Nigerian dances. This was a great contribution from Lagos Nigeria. This was followed by other subsequent ones in 2008 in Busan Korea as the one that was supposed to take place in 2004 in Montreal Canada was cancelled. It was this Canada edition that African Billiards was penciled down for participation by the organizers of the 4 yearly festival. It was more or less Traditional Sports Olympics, even though it has not been officially pronounced as Traditional Sports Olympic Games. Mallam Elias Yusuf was the only member of main Traditional Sports Group in Nigeria that was in the eleven man contingents that emanated from Lagos Sport For All Nigeria that attended this 3rd World Festival of Traditional Sports, in Hannover Germany in the year 2000. 


Direct Contributions of Lagos State 

Since the inception of the formation and inauguration of Nigeria Association of Traditional Sport (NATS) in 1993 in Lagos by the then Executive Chairman of the National Sports Commission Chief Alex Akinyele, Lagos State Government has been trying very well to be a highly cooperating member with the national governing body of Traditional Sports in Nigeria referred to as Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN). It was called Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports at the inception in 1993 under Alhaji (Dr.) G.N Hamzat, the first Chief Executive of Traditional Sports Association (as Chairman).

After the inauguration of NATS in 1993, Lagos State went ahead to constitute her own Traditional Sports association under the leadership of Alhaji Santos Anjorin who later became Chief Executive of Island Club, Lagos. This shows you the quality of the man he was made of as a Lagosian. He tried his best for the Association as the association took part in several activities of NATS. He lead the Association to participate in the National Festival of Traditional Sports that took place in 1994 at the Sports Hall and some lawns of the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos. He made sure that Lagos took the front row as the festival was more on participation rather than outright competition. It was Alhaji Santos Anjorin that insisted that Abula Game that was developed by a Sport Master in Lagos State must be among the sports that must participate at the opening ceremony of that festival (1994) when some of the organizing individuals conspired against Abula, believing that it would take shine out of their own sports selected for the festival. The festival which took place in Dec. 1994 was declared opened by the then Military Governor of Lagos State Colonel Buba Marwa who was ably represented by a Senior Official of Lagos State. 

It was under the jurisdiction of Alhaji Anjorin that the first national championship organized by NATS was conducted. It was done in 1997 as Oba of Lagos National Ayo Championship. Alhaji Santos was highly involved in making sure that the championship took place despite shortage of fund in organizing the championship Alhaji Santos Anjorin always made sure that Lagos took part in all coaching clinics and any program organized on Traditional Sports, may be under NATS or NOC.

It was Alhaji Anjorin that made us to discover the talent of Mrs. Funke Yusuf in 1998 when there was I.O.C Patronage of Nigerian Traditional Sports by Sport for All Nigeria under the Nigerian Olympic Committee. Alhaji Anjorin insisted that I should look for a female that would represent Lagos in the patronage championship. So when I got back home I told Mrs. Funke Yusuf to help me look for female Ayo player for the program. She told me she knew how to play Ayo. Then I engaged her in playing Ayo in order to find out whether she knew how to play Ayo, since when we had been together, I had never seen her play Ayo Game. We played and she won the contest three straight sets. So I brought her to the competition and she became the first female athlete to give Lagos State Gold Medal in Traditional Sports Champion involving Lagos State. 

At Imo’98 under Alhaji Anjorin, Lagos State would have come first over all if not for the domination of Kano State that swept all the three gold medals in Langa, Lagos State came first in Abula with 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze medal in the 3gold, 3silver and 3bronze medals available in Abula. Lagos State had more medals in silver and bronze but Kano beat Lagos by one gold medal being higher. Alhaji Santos Anjorin tried very much for Lagos State Traditional Sports Association.

The leadership of Mr. Bashir Agusto as Chairman of Lagos State Traditional Sports also tried his best for Lagos Traditional Sports Association. There were some sponsored championships in Ayo, Abula and Kokawa. Lagos State got a sweet revenge in Langa as Lagos State capture all the 3 gold medals in Langa at Eko 2012 just like Kano captured all the 3 gold medals at Imo’98

Under Mr. Agusto which dovetailed with the leadership of Mr. Deji Tinubu of blessed memory who became the maiden chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission, organized the first Traditional Sports Championship for Secondary School level in Lagos State in 2016 from 12th – 14th October, 2016 with 14 Secondary Schools participating in Abula female categories while 15 secondary schools participate in male categories. In Ayo 27 secondary schools participated in male categories while 24 Secondary Schools participated in female categories and this is the first of it kind in Nigeria and indeed in Africa. Subsequent editions of this Secondary School Championship covering Abula, Ayo, Kokawa and Langa have been held. 

The most recent contribution of Lagos State Sports Commission was inclusion of some Traditional Sports in the programme “SPORTS IS BACK” which was promoting non-contact sports during COVID-19. AYO and ABULA were futured.

The medals won by Lagos at the National Sports Festivals in 2012 and 2018 respectively are as follow:


7          3          3

3          5          2

These were won out of the 21 gold medals available from TSFN.

In 2021, may be COVID affected Lagos, she did not perform to expectation. I hereby commend coach Izeko for innovating the Dambe glove cover used by Dambe fighters after TSFN approved the use of glove cover.


The Nigeria Olympic Committee and the Commonwealth Games Federation recently organized EXHIBITION, showcasing the NIGERIAN INDIGENOUS SPORTS OF: 

1. Abula
2. Ayo   
3. Dambe
4. Kokawa and
5. Arm-Wrestling. This was on September 25, 2021

The Nigeria Olympic Committee had contributed very much to the promotion of
Traditional Sports in Nigeria over the years before this of 2021.
Such noble contributions include, facilitating:

  1. International Olympic Committee (1OC) Patronage of Abula Game in 1994 through the Sport for All Nigeria under the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC).
  2. International Olympic Committee (1OC) Patronage of Nigerian Traditional Sports Festival in 1998 with Sport for All Nigeria under the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC)
  3. IOC Patronage of TRAD0/CULTURAL SPORTS CARNIVAL in 2003
  4.  In the year 2000, Sports For All Nigeria under the Nigeria Olympic Committee, participated in the 3rd World Traditional Sports Festival Tagged: “HANNOVER 2000” which dovetailed into EXPO-2000 in Hannover Germany (I was one of the eleven delegate members that represented Nigeria there). 
  5. Subsequently, Sports For All Nigeria under the Nigerian Olympic Committee
    attended two other World Festival of Traditional Sports in Busan in South Korea in 2008 and in Siauliai, in Lithuania in 2012
  6. It must be put on records that the Nigeria Olympic Committee supported (TSFN) Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria in securing the opportunity to make Nigeria to become the first country in Africa to feature African Indigenous Sports as demonstration Sports at the 8th All Africa Games, ABUJA 2003 where we demonstrated 4 African Indigenous Sports of Ayo, Kokawa, Dambe and Parasoccer.

This was the first time that African Indigenous Sports ever participated in All African Games since its inception in 1965. Mallam Elias Yusuf was the Jury to the Traditional Sports Team that represented Nigeria there.


When the secretariat of NATS/TSFN was in Lagos, major contributions were made to Traditional Sports e.g

  1. The 1994 National Festival of Traditional Sports under Alhaji G.N Hamzat, the Pioneer Chairman of NATS
  2. The compilation of Traditional Sports Rules and Regulations and printing of the first copy in 1998 initiated by Mallam Elias Yusuf being Chairman Technical Committee of NATS, under Dr. Haske Dantanee as Chairman NATS
  3. The harmonization (in 2000) of the rules and regulation of Ayo which were first made at Benue ’96 in order to remove the contraditions in the rules. This harmonization in the year 2000 in Lagos under the Technical Chairman of Mallam Elias Yusuf supported by Mr. S.A. Daudu made the rules and regulation of Ayo, to be free of all contradictions and made it to be really truely practicable, playable without flaws and made national and internationally useable. This is very significant in making the Ayo rules and regulations to be very useable worldwide. This style of Ayo playing is called FREE STYLE meant for useage worldwide and made Ayo to become SMART AYO GAME. 
  4. The NATS also initiated the idea of making the National Institute for Sports (N.I.S) under the leadership of Dr. Haskee Dantanee as Chairman of NATS and Mallam Elias Yusuf, Chairman Technical Committee to compose the syllabus and was presented at the 4th Convocation of N.I.S on 12/08/1999 in the presence of the then Minister of Sports and Social Development Mr. Sango Damisi by Mallam Elias Yusuf representing the Chairman of NATS Dr. Hakee Dantanee.

This syllabus was composed by the trio:

  1. Mr. Lucas S.S. Gadani (the then Ag Head of N.I.S)
  2. Alhaji Bako Abdul (Chairman NATS 1995 – 1997) and
  3. Mallam Elias Yusuf (the then Vice Chairman of NATS, Chairman Technical Committee NATS and Chairman of the Syllabus Committee)

This had given opportunities for all our Traditional Sports coaches and certain individuals to obtain the Trainings of N.I.S to have Certificate, Diploma or Higher Diploma qualifications in our Traditional Sports. Even foreigners can get this training. Such individual that have benefited from this move included Mr. Sunday Adeogun, Mr. Samuel Ikono, Mr. Akeem (Abula Coach) etc 

The idea to take our Traditional Sports to All Africa Games in 2003 was initiated by NATS when her office was still in Lagos, and it was at this 8th All Africa Games that the idea of Confederation of Africa Traditional Indigenous Sports started. 


A special contribution that is based in Lagos and that is making a worldwide contributions from Lagos is www.afrotradosports.com. This has a lot hallow effect on promotion of our Traditional Sports locally, internationally and indeed worldwide. It is good to visit http://www.afrotradosports.com from time to time for education, consultation, updates, perspective essays and knowledge on our rules and regulations on our Traditional Sports.


Traditional Sports in the World today is receiving serious attention worldwide:

  1. Starting from IOC Patronages, IOC affiliating some International Groups on Traditional Sports.
  2. Very important mother organization promoting Traditional Sports is the UNESCO. 
  3. UNESCO Policy on Traditional Sports and Games (TSG) particularly the Verona Declaration on Traditional Sports in 2015 which makes it expedient for Traditional Sports to be promoted in schools worldwide. 
  4. TAFISA, The Trim and Fitness Association which started to promote Traditional Sports with staging of World Festival of Traditional Sports a four yearly affair. This started in Bonn Germany in 1992, followed by Bangcock Tailand in 1996, Hannover 2000, Montreal 2004 was cancelled, Busan 2008 in Korea etc
  5. The Asian Society indicated they were planning to ensure 10 of their Traditional Sports become Olympic Sports. Some of such sports include:
  1. Bo Taoshi
  2. Kabaddi
  3. Sepak Takraw
  4. Bokh
  5. Buzkashi etc
  1. There is European traditional Sports Association (ETSA) 
  2. International Council of Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG) constituted on 11th August 2020 and which in the 2021 celebrated 1st Traditional Sports World Day.
  3. She named 14th August as the International Day of Traditional Sports and Games with a ministerial webnar with the theme: 


The President of ICTGS is Khalil Ahmed Khan 

  1. We have Ethnosports Group based in Canada
  2. We now have Confederation of African Traditional Sports and Games with the headquarters in Sierra Leone with the President: Mr. Yahya Al Matarr Jobe and the Secretary General: Chief Michael Shamsu Mustapha 
  3. We also have African Billiards and Snooker Confederation with the headquarters in Egypt. 
  4. The North American Indigeneous Games: NAIG 2023 is bringing more than 5,000 athletes, 3000 volunteers with 16 Sports in 21 venues (HALIFAX NOVASCOTIA)
  5. 7 Popular Indigenous Games of South America
  1. Sapo (from Peru)
  2. Tejo (Colombia)
  3. Bolas Critiollas (Venezuela)
  4. Purrinha (Brazil)
  5. Trompo (Ecuador)
  6. Chaza (Ecuador & Colombia)
  7. Paleta Fronton (Peru)
  1. Japanese Traditional Sports that is famous is the sumo wrestling apart from Japan being amongst the Asian countries. 
  2. All these are suppose to be under the promotion of International Council of Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG)


  1. Lack of facilities, especially in schools
  2. Lack of coaches that are very competent on the sports  
  3. Lack of sponsors apart from government (and governments too are not very enthusiastic)
  4. Lack of adequate championships
  5. Lack of hosting National and International competitions 
  6. Disappearance of Traditional Sports in the scheme of work in our schools. In recent past, Lagos was one of the states that was operating the National Curriculum of Traditional Sports but due to lumping of PHE with some other subjects in the curriculum, Traditional Sports lost their space/placement on the syllabus.  
  7. Exclusion of our Traditional Sports from the “DAWN Games” 2014 organised by South West Region in Nigeria. Our indigeneous sports suppose to be among.
  8. Returning Traditional Sports to optional sports at the National Sports Festival is a very backward trend that will demote our Traditional Sports instead of promoting them.  


With all that we have put forward, there are suggestions for we in Lagos City and Lagos State to further move our Traditional Sport to the next higher and greater level.

  1. First and foremost, we should have new and professional trained coaches to be fully employed by Lagos State Sports Commission so that they can perform well.
  2. We should have standard facilities for our sports. Let Lagos have a good Traditional Sports ARENA as attached to this write up on one acre of land as the TSFN template (attached to this write up)
  3. Let there be facilities for Abula Game in all our schools, especially secondary schools as it was invented in the school system of Lagos State.
  4. It is a credit to Lagos State for this ASA WEEK championship that we are organizing, such should continue. The secondary school  championship on Traditional Sports should also continue and if possible named after Mr. Deji Tinubu who started the championship
  5. Let there be equipment for the sports in our schools.
  6. National and International Championships on Traditional Sports should be hosted by Lagos if Lagos is to attain the status of being “HUB OF SPORTS” in Africa
  7. The Oba of Lagos Ayo Championship should be resultitated with addition of African Billiards to it. Without any delay. The Lagos Island Local Government could adopt it for sponsorship. 
  8. We can have Governor’s Cup on Abula or all our Traditional Sports. Just like the Governor’s Cup on Tennis. We can also have Abula Leagues – Lagos Abula League and National Abula League. There are lot to suggest as the way forward. Let us have it like this parlance “NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER AND NO SIT DOWN LOOK”. 
  9. Bring back the DAWN Games and include our Traditional Sports.
  10. Now, I like to bring this paper to a close on a special and spectacular note. I like to let you know that this dress I am wearing to deliver this paper was worn by me 21years ago at HANNOVER 2000, in Germany. This was the dress we wore to perform on stage when we presented some Nigerian Dances. I was a drummer there. I am wearing it today to draw your attention to the fact that we need to adjust immediately by having special and specific outfits for our officiating officials and that the dress should reflect our own culture e.g we can have:
  1. Smart agbada
  2. Specially designed buba 
  3. Smart dansiki
  4. Smart South-South dress
  5. Smart Hausa /Fulani outfit etc
  6. Smart middle belt dress 
  7. Smart South East dress
  8. Smart Aqua-Ibom-Calabar dress etc

This is very important in order to have our identity in the world through our own Indigenous/Traditional Sports.

  1. I hereby use this opportunity to CONGRATULATE the organizers of this week on our Traditional Sports. It is possible to work on it and make it as popular and reputable like the TOCALTI FESTIVAL in Verona City in Italy. It is possible.

This is a special accolade to Hon. Biola Lawal, the new and current chairperson of Lagos State Traditional Sports Association. Bravo. More grease to your elbow and wishing you a wonderfully successful tenure. God bless ma.

Attached is the special template for the construction of TRADITIONAL SPORT ARENA. 

Thank you very much for your attention. 

Mallam Elias Yusuf

NB: This paper is hereby published today to mark the 2nd Anniversary of August 14 as the World Traditional Sports Day as started in 2021 by International Council of Traditional Sports and Games (ICTSG).

Thank you for reading this episode.

Happy Celebration of Interration Traditional Sports Day, 14 August, 2022

A solidarity contribution from afrotradosports.com


Name of Sport (Game): ABULA

Name in Native Language: Abula

Also called Abula Game, MerinmerinAbula, Abula ball game. 

Place of Practice (continent, state, nation) Nigeria (West Africa), UK (Abula ball in London), New ZealandCommonwwealthGames Association School Program

HISTORY: Abula (Game) was invented by Mallam Elias Yusuf, the then Sports Master of Idi-Araba High School Mushin, Lagos Nigeria. It was first fully and successfully played on 08-02-1984 at the Idi-Araba High School. 

The invention was based on the principles of balanced diet derived from the dish of Abula which comprises of Amala (carbohydrate stuff, prepared from yam/plantain flour, gbegiri (stool made from beans) ewedu (drawing vegetable soup with a lot of vitamins), oil from the stool as lipid). This diet has been part of the Yorubas of the South West of Nigeria from time immemorial. 

Abula game has received a lot of recognitions. Abula was grouped under Nigerian Association of Traditional Sports (NATS) in 1993 when the association was inaugurated by National Sports Commission in Nigeria.  It received IOC patronage in 1994 through Sport for All and the Nigeria Olympic Committee.

It is now a regular medal scoring event at the biennial National Sports Festival in Nigeria, scoring 3 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medals in male, female and mixed doubles categories as recorded at IMO’98, BAUCHI 2000 till this EDO 2020.It is recognized by Nigerian School Sports Federation and NUGA (Nigerian University Games Association) for Championship Tournaments. 

The Federal Ministry of Education has also recognized Abula for the school curriculum in Primary and Secondary Schools in Nigeria (2001) Abula was billed to be in Montreal Canada at the 4th World Festival of Traditional Sports in 2004 by TAFISA but that edition of the festival was cancelled.



Abula is a ball game invented by Mallam Elias Foluso Yusuf and played with a uniquely designed Abulabat which has built in safety measures. 

The game is played in a court of 16m x 8m over a high net of 2.44m from the turf. It is a four aside game with four substitutes allowed on each side, substituting only twice in a set. There are 13 major rules and regulations guiding the game. It is a very popular ball game in schools, clubs and national competitions. 




It is played in a court of 16m by 8m with a net of 2.44m high in the middle. 



It is played with a tennis size ball and with a specially designed Abula Bat. Abula bat weighs between 0.5kg and 0.75kg. the face of the bat that makes contact with the ball is 20cm by 20cm. 


A team is made up of four players aside. Male and female players can play separately. Mixed team of 2 boys and 2 girls are allowed. Four substitutes are allowed per team. 


Player’s dress consist of sport vests, shorts/skirts, canvas shoes and socks to match or any other acceptable sport wear/traditional sports wear/jersey. 



At the start of a match, a toss of the coin decides which side starts the game. Toss the ball up before you hit the ball with the bat and the ball goes over the net into the opponent’s side of the court to land inside the court. 



Your score your points whether you are serving or receiving.

Each server serves four times in succession when a deuce has not been reached.

The game goes the length of 16 points to win if there is no deuce..

It is best of three or five sets for a match.



A server serves the ball by tossing the ball into the air and hitting the ball with face of the bat to get the ball over the net to the opponent’s side of the court. 

The server serves the ball from the service area at the right hand corner of the back of the court. 

Rotation of service is clockwise. The team will rotate when services rotate to them except at the beginning of the game/set. 

DEUCE: A deuce is called at 15 – 15. The game then goes to 20 points to win. The first team to get the twenty points wins the game. 

During the deuce game, a team will serve once, before the service is transferred to the opponent and rotation precedes service.

The player that is serving when the deuce is called starts the deuce game.   


Three touches are allowed in the game. However, a player cannot touch the ball in succession when the ball is at play.



Touching the ball in succession by a player is a fault. Only the face of the bat should be used to contact the ball. You can use one of the two hands to hold the bat which has three handles in one. The two hands are also allowed to hold the bat. Bats of two players of the same team must not hit each other while attempting to play when the ball is in play. (batsclashing not allowed)



There are four substitutes for each team making a total of eight players for the team. In a mixed team,a female substitutes a female (player) while a male for a male (player) respectively. Only two substitutions are allowed in an encounter/game. 



The bat is held by the handles. Use only the face of the bat to contact the ball. 



Apart from the match commissioner, there shall be eight officials, made up of the followings: one referee, one Umpire/Assistant Referee, two Scorers (1 table and one score board) and four linesman. The referee controls the game with a whistle 

RULE 13a


A team is allowed a maximum of two time outs in a game. 

A time out lasts for 30seconds. 

A change over period between one game and another is two minutes 

RULE 13b

Two penalty types exist under Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria General Rules and Regulations. 


(a) Red Card Offences

  1. Fighting 
  2. Insulting/intimidating match officials 
  3. Throwing of bat in Abula (game)
  4. Any violent disturbance 
  5. Disruption of play deliberately 

(b) Yellow Card Offenses 

  1. None violent disruption of play [Yellow card first and may later transform to red card]
  2. Delay in serving 

YELLOW CARD is to give strong and lasting warning while RED CARD is outright punishment. However in Abula, when a player receives RED CARD he/she will be replaced to maintain 4 players for the team on the court of play and that player that received RED card will not play again in the remaining part of that particular tournament. 

TYPE 2PENALTIES:In Abula, when the two teams playing a match reach the GAME POINT of 15 – 15 (simultaneously) a DEUCE is called. A deuce is like penalty shoot outs. The first team to get to the 20thpoint, wins that set. 


While playing the ball, if the bats of the two players of the same team touch each other while contacting the ball, the team is at fault (bat clash or aided contact, it is a fault). Touching the ball in succession by a player is a fault. It is double contact. 

  • Only the face of the bat should be used to contact the ball.
  • Any other part is a fault. Out ball is a fault against the last player. 
  • Block out is a fault against the blocker
  • More than three touches from a side before playing the ball to the opponent’s court is a fault. 
  • Wrong service is a fault leading to loss of points gained by it through faulty rotation. 
  • Touching the net with your body or bat when the ball is in play is a fault. 
  • If the ball hits the bat and the bat hits or touches the ground as a result, it is a fault. 
  • Throwing the bat to the ball is a fault. 
  • Backhand play is a fault.
  • Ball touching the net directly from a serve is a fault. 
  • Serving the ball to go out of court is a fault. 
  • Faulty  service e.g not being able to serve ball over the net is a fault
  • Serving inside the court is fault. 

CURRENT STATUS: Abula is nationally popular in Nigeria and a National Abula League will soon begin as plan on this is getting to advanced stage. 

New Zealand Commonwealth Games Association selected Abula as one of the 20 Sports selected from various commonwealth countries/nations of the world to be in their FERN school curriculum program as a result of developments from 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

In 2019, Abula has been introduced to UK through a group called KeepFit4ChristSportsClub led by Coach Jedidiah (Google Abula Ball Game in London).

The Commonwealth Games’ Group of the Nigeria Olympic Committee in 2021, organized exhibition of Nigerian Indigeneous Sports of which the two by two abula was among the sports exhibited and was later showcased on their instagram to celeberate Nigeria Independence day (01/10/2021).

This is one of the ways in which Abula is “moving steadily across boarders”

So Abula is in Africa with foothold in Europe and Oceanic.


  1. It is very interesting 
  2. It is cheap to establish 
  3. It is simple to understand and master
  4. It is very recreative and competitive 
  5. It is for both sexesi.e for male and female to play together shoulder to shoulder in the same court promoting the spirit of Beijing 1995. However, there is no body contractor contact is very low. 
  6. It is very popular among school children. 
  7. It is a very safe sport in comparison with some other gruesome sports.
  8. It economizes space especially in cities where land is a scare resource.
  9. It has interesting varieties such as Abula Family Game (AFAGA) and fitness Abula which are very good for recreational purposes. 
  10. The two by two Abula game is now gathering a lot of popularity as it was featured officially in an official program of Lagos State – Sports is back as a no contact game WHEN Covid-19 was initially dieing down and Lagos State Sports Commission was trying to welcome Sports back from COVID-19 travail before Omicron of COVID-19 emerged.  

CONTACTS: (1) 08023289082 abulaman1984@gmail.com

(2) 08022154996





under Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports, Abuja, Nigeria 

SOURCES OF INFORMATION: Books, Textbooks, Rule books, Videos, Youtube and 

especially from www.afrotradosports.com

ABULA GAME INVENTOR: Mallam Elias Yusuf – 08023289082


Today 08-02-2022 made it exactly 38years of playing ABULA (GAME) in the world. So today 28-02-2022 is Happy Birthday to the ABULA (GAME). 

Supporting the promotional slang of Abula which states: ABULA MOVING STEADILY ACROSS BORDERS, is Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Poetry “Ulysses”

“…I cannot rest from travel: I will drink

Life to the lees: All times I have enjoy’d

Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those

That loved me, and alone, on shore and when 

Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades

Vext the dim sea: I am become a name;

For always roaming with a hungry heart

Much have I seen and known, cities of men…”

ABULA: Please move on.


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 afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com. 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 afrotradosports.com

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  www.afrotradosport.com 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 www.afrotradosports.com. 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 www.afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com. Bravo AFRICA! 

A humble and great salute to all EXECUTIVES of UATSG. You are welcome. Afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com
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: afrotradosports.com 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, afrotradosports.com 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 afrotradosports.com 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 

Blogger: afrotradosports.com

08023289082, email: abulaman1984@gmail.com



  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, www.afrotradosports.com 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 




Letsfit Smart Watch, Fitness Tracker with Heart Rate Monitor, Activity Tracker with 1.3_ Touch Screen, IP68 Waterproof Pedometer Smartwatch with Sleep Monitor, Step Counter for Women and Men