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Background to the Study

The relevance and importance of sports to National development has made sports development a sin-qua-non to the attainment of the goals of sports in the society. The Federal Republic of Nigeria Sports Development Policy (2009), defined sports development as the process of continuous improvement of the sport structure, institution, and programmes in order to create a societal condition conducive to physical fitness for all and for effective functioning and self-actualization. Collins (1995) defined sports development as a process whereby effective opportunities, processes, systems and structures are set up to enable and encourage people in all or particular groups and areas to take part in sport for recreation or to improve their performance to whatever level they desire. Explaining the concept of sports development, Sheitima (2005) claimed that development must involve a movement from the old to the new and implies that this is progressive. In other words, sports development is about creating new and better ways of doing things in sports. In the context of the present study, sports development is defined as the provision of standard facilities and equipment, qualified personnel, adequate funding as well as an effective school sports policy that can accommodate the needs, interests, and aspirations of the participants. The Federal Republic of Nigeria Sports Development Policy (1989), segmented sports development into five distinct components: international sports, indigenous sports, stadium management, sports federations and institutional sports.

International Sports arises because sports regularly cross international boundaries. Defining International sports as having an impact on more than one nation, Masteralexis, Barr and Hums (2005) noted that it is extremely difficult to name sports that are unaffected by international influences. On this note it becomes imperative that sports development in Nigeria should be geared towards meeting international standard.

Indigenous sports refer to traditional sports and games that have been practiced in Nigeria all over the years, even before colonialism and western education. The traditional sports and games then were basically for leisure and recreational activities, some of which reflect the cultural heritage and religious background of the people in Nigeria in general. Akinemi (2008). Some examples of indigenous sports in Nigeria include Ayo (Seed game), Langa (Hopping game), Kokawa (Traditional wrestling), Aarin (African billiards game), and Dambe (Traditional boxing). Indigenous sports encourage indigenous people to be more active and to play sport at all levels. It works to increase opportunities for indigenous people to learn the skills needed to organise, deliver, and manage community based sport, and to ensure that talented indigenous sports people are able to access the support they need to reach their sporting goals even in the absence of properly constructed sports facilities.

Sports are very popular all over the world because of the diverse purposes they serve. Onifade (2001) states that sports as a social institution teaches and reinforces societal beliefs, norms and values, thereby assisting in socializing athletes into major cultural and social behaviour patterns in various societies. Bucher and Krotee (2002) opined that sports contribute to character building, discipline, economy, ideology, patriotism, education, mental development, human communication, physical fitness, and health. Sports competitions, seminars, conferences and meetings of various types provide the opportunity for individuals from different countries to exchange ideas and knowledge which in turn would be of immense benefit in educating the citizens of their countries. Morakinyo (2002) observed that sports as a social phenomenon has grown from its humble beginning of being an entertainment and recreation pastime to become a visible and prominent business phenomenon that could no longer be ignored in the social, political and economic environment of any nation. Many great nations and societies of the world have realized that participation in sports is the key to a healthy development of their citizens, and have used it to develop their young ones, attaining a success that science, religions and politics have failed to achieve. Sporting activities have as well permeated the Nigerian society just as many other societies worldwide and also all aspects of societal life such as politics and religion. Awosika (2003) described sports as a symbol that has become a unifying factor in Nigeria and views it as an essential ingredient for nation building, which cuts across all barriers-ethnic, religious or social, and has served as a medium for the development of youths.

Cowell and Schwehn (1995) conceptualized sports as any particular play, game, or mode of amusement, as well as other similar activities. Hornby (2001) defined sports as outdoor or indoor game, competition, or activity carried on by rules and needing bodily effort or skill. Onifade (2003) viewed sports as an institutionalized competitive activity that involves vigorous physical exertion or the use of relatively complex physical skill by individuals. Sports in the context of this study are defined as games and plays of low and high organization within the secondary school setting. Such games and plays may or may not be competitive but may encourage greater students’ participation.

Stadiums facilities are designed to accommodate large group of people who want to be entertained at a sport or an entertainment event. Stadium management as a component of sports development involves financing new stadiums or renovations of old ones, retaining the revenue generated by the stadium and preparing fully integrated security programmes.

Sports Federations are the organizations governing a specific sport within each country. Examples of sports federation in Nigeria include the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN), and Traditional Sports Federation of Nigeria (TSFN) among others. These organizations are responsible for approving and sanctioning competitions open to all athletes in the country. They set the national policies and eligibility standards for participation in their respective sports. Sports federations are also responsible for the training, development, and selection of teams in their respective sports for various competitions in various institutions.

Institutional sports here refer to school sports (Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Institutions). Secondary school sport is the focus of this study, considering the role secondary school sports play in the early identification of sports talents and sports development at large.

Sports development in Nigeria has witnessed a lot of metamorphosis from the colonial, pre-independence to independence eras. Prior colonial incursion, dancing, acrobatic displays and wrestling featured prominently as part of ceremonies in Nigerian societies (Ikulayo, 1994). Modern competitive sports were introduced to Nigeria mainly by the British Christian missionaries. Sports were organized on recreational basis in the schools, but were later held competitively as part of the British Empire day celebrations. In 1910, school competitions started in Ibadan, western Nigeria to vie for the Rowden shield, presented by the former Director of Education in Southern province of Nigeria, Mr. E.G. Rowden. In the Eastern provinces, the first inter-school sports meeting was organized in 1919 for the peace challenge shield competition held an armistice day to commemorate the signing of the armistice, which ended the First World War on 11 November 1918. In 1933, Selwyn Grier, the Director of Education of the Western province donated Grier shield that was first competed for by colleges, namely Kings college, Lagos, Government college, Ibadan, St. Andrews college Oyo and Baptist College, Ogbomoso. The British, in their effort to strengthen the ties between Northern and Southern Nigeria started the Hussey shield competition in 1933. The competition was named after E. R .J. Hussey, the National Director of Education. (Uti and Ojeme 2002). The fortunes of this and many other competitions in particular and sports development in Nigeria in general has been affected by several impediments.

A constraint according to Hornby (2001) is a thing that limits or restricts. Quirk (2003) perceived constraint as something that limits ones freedom of doing what he wants to In the context of this study, impediments to sports development refer to those things such as lack of qualified sports personnel and adequate and suitable facilities and equipment among others that limit the development of sports among student athlete in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu state.

Available records on development of sports in Nigeria showed that following the landmark independence of Nigeria in 1960, government started taking initiatives such as the introduction of the Nigeria School Sports Federation in 1976 to emphasize the relevance of sports to nation building. Abeku (2000). An important instrument for the attainment of the above objective would have been emphasizing the implementation of the regular school sport system and its physical education programme at all levels of schooling (primary, secondary and tertiary). School sports constitute an important and inseparable stage in the pursuit of long term development objectives of sports, the athlete, the national and sports organizations. (Vencateswarlu, 2000).

The secondary schools as one of the levels of schooling in Nigeria are made up of students who are predominantly in their early adolescent years between the ages 10-16 years. Musa (1999) noted that secondary school age bracket constitute the critical period for acquisition and mastery of sports skills. This is a unique and fascinating period in human development because students are usually in their formative period of development. Therefore, Secondary school sports is seen as a promising setting to encourage adolescents to begin and maintain a physically active life style and also to acquire and develop high standard skills for major games and sports

Secondary school sports connote competitions particularly in football, athletics and a few popular sports. This is so because of the objective of the philanthropists who always donated cup or shields to boys or girls schools or to individual sports and schools where houses are named after them. Examples of such competitions were the Hussey Shield and Grier cup competitions; these are inter-scholastic competitions which were organized annually for secondary schools. Both competitions started in 1933. The former was organized for all secondary schools in Nigeria, while the latter was organized for secondary schools in Western provinces and Lagos. Also, the Morocco-Clarke cricket competition was organized for all secondary schools in Nigeria. (Umedum, Okafor and Azubike, 1986). These inter-school competitions produced some of the finest national athletes in Nigeria. Even after the attainment of independence, the competitions continued to exists, but the search for a more unifying factor for a segregated nation like Nigeria, soon found these competitions inadequate. Therefore to bring about enhanced growth and development in sports in Nigeria, the Nigerian School Sports Federation (NSSF) was proposed and inaugurated for the control and organization of all school sports in the country in 1976 (Uti and Ojeme 2002). The first sports meet under NSSF was held the same year, and they have since then been held annually. These meets not only helped to foster national unity among Nigerian citizens but also encourage the development of good sportsmanship among the athletes at the grass root level and the discovery of sports talents in the secondary schools. (Ladani 1990, FRN, 2000).

There may be however, some variables that can impinge on the developmental process of sports among student athlete generally and in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu state in particular. One of such variables is provision of qualified personnel. According to Morakinyo and Aluko (2010), the administration of any organization is a function that requires personal/professional preparation on the part of the personnel. Sport is a technical area that requires adequate preparation for those that will manage it at any level. Therefore in choosing personnel for sports programmes in secondary school, certain principles must be borne in mind; such principles include qualification, personality, interest and experience. The administration of sports programme in the secondary school is majorly the responsibility of the physical education teachers who usually serve as game masters or mistresses. These physical education teachers have significant roles to play in the development of sports among student athlete. Sonmez (1996) observed that a teacher is the firm foundation supporting the new generations in any country to keep up with changing economic, political, and socio-cultural lives which may include sports programmes in secondary schools.

Formulation of policy is essential to the efficient administration of any sports organization. In Nigeria, government policies usually affect sports development. This is as a result of having inappropriate policies in place to serve as a standing plan or guide in general terms of how sports organizations will run and how its activities are to be conducted. Many of the government policies as they relates to sports development have not been fully implemented. This of course impinges on the development of sports because policies are developed from mission statement, which when properly implemented would be the basis for establishing all aspects of the operational procedures in sports.

Another variable that can effect development of sports among student athlete is funding. For meaningful development of sports among student athlete, adequate funding needs to be guaranteed. The sources of fund, sourcing for fund, and management of funds are all variables under funding that affect development of sports among student athlete. All will be considered in the present study.

Bucher, Koening and Barnhard(1970), stated that no physical education and sport can effectively be carried out without adequate facilities and equipment. It is obvious that ideal facilities and equipment, and a good educational proogramme complement each other in the successful development of sports in secondary school. However, sports facilities and equipment in Nigerian secondary schools are in pitiable situation and in most cases, they are not in existence. (Okosun 2010). This of course is a major constraint to the development of sports. This study will also seek to examine whether or not the provision and maintenance of facilities and equipment for the development of sports among student athlete are impediments.

In spite of the great effort being put in place such as the establishment of NSSF to advance the development of secondary school sports in Nigeria, and recognizing the huge human and material resource potentials which abound in Nigeria for its grass root sports development through secondary school sports, it would appear that secondary schools in Nigeria are still backward in the area of sports development. For example, credible sports meets are rarely organized to achieve the desired aim of such competitions. Secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone are not exempted from this downward trend situation in sports.

Principals, physical education teachers, and game prefects in various secondary schools were included the present study. They are those directly faced with the administration and management of sports in their schools. The principals in their monitory and supervisory roles of sports in their schools, are usually confronted with certain impediments to development of sports such as those associated with funding, facilities and equipment etc. The administration of sports programme in the secondary school is majorly the responsibility of the physical education teachers. They usually serve as game masters and game mistresses in their various schools and as a result have significant roles to play in the development of sports. Nji (2010). The above statement rationalizes their inclusion in the present study. This also goes for the game prefects who as student athletes lack the opportunity for proper participation in sports due to certain impediments to development of sports.

Various researchers and authors in Physical Education, such as Morankinyo and Aluko (2010), Sonmez (1996), Bucher, Koening & Barnard (1970) had outlined some factors such as quality of sports personnel, government policy, funding of sport, sport facilities and equipment and sport programs to be implicated in poor secondary schools for development of sports. This study therefore attempts to concretely examine in the light of the foregoing the impediments that impede development of sports among student athlete.



Statement of the Problem


The Report of the Vision 2020 National Technical Working Group on Sports Development (2009) recognized the weaknesses that exist in the conduct and organization of sports in Nigeria and Nigerian schools in particular, and recommended among others statutory provisions such as to enhance sports development in schools and communities. The Nigerian sports structure is such that the secondary school offers the main sporting opportunities for her citizens and it is the key for early discovery of talented athletes. Onifade (1999) explained that this opportunity for organized sports at the secondary school level is most logical, especially as many Nigerians appear to terminate their formal education at the secondary school level. It would, therefore, make reasonable sense to have strong secondary school sports structure in order to easily identify early talented athletes.

This may have explained the reason why the Nigeria School Sports Federation (NSSF) was introduced in 1976 to bring about enhanced growth and development of sports among student athlete in Nigeria, essentially for grass root sports development and mobilization for the discovery of talented athletes and effective coverage of the scope of sports development. (Ladani, 1990; FRN, 2000).

Unfortunately, the achievement of this laudable goal by NSSF is still questionable in Nigeria, especially in secondary schools like the ones in Nsukka Education Zone. Available records at the Nsukka Education Zone Sports office (Post Primary School Management Board of Nsukka Education Zone, 2011) shows that there are hardly any organized sports competitions among secondary schools in the zone, also personal observation and experience has shown that there is a low level of participation by secondary school students in sporting competition and that Nsukka Education Zone scarcely feature prominently at the state and national sports competition. This situation therefore provides a cause for concern. Many scholars in the field of physical education (Morakinyo, 1999, Onifade, 1999) have speculated some factors as being implicated in the observed downward trend of sports development in secondary schools in Nigeria. It is not yet ascertained the veracity of the claim about the already speculated factors as constituting impediments to sports development in secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone. This study therefore is to examine if the identified impediments also impact sports development in secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.


Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the impediments to development of sports among student athlete in Education Zone.

Specifically, the study seeks to find out the impediments associated with:

  1. sports personnel for development of sports among student athlete.
  2. government policy on development of sports among student athlete.
  3. funding of sports for development of sports among student athlete.
  4. facilities and equipment for development of sports among student athlete.
  5. sports programmes for development of sports among student athlete.
  6. development of sports among student athlete.



Research Questions


Based on the specific objectives of the study, the following research questions will be posed.


  1. What are the impediments associated with sport personnel for development of sport in secondary schools?
  2. What are the impediments associated with government policy on development of sports?
  3. What are the impediments associated with funding of sport for development of sports among student athlete?
  4. What are the impediments associated with the provision and availability of sport facilities and equipment for sports development of sports among student athlete?
  5. What are the impediments associated with sports programmes for development of sports among student athlete?
  6. What are the impediments to development of sports among student athlete?


In order to further give direction to this study, one null hypotheses was postulated and tested at .05 level of significant

  1. There is no significant difference in the impediments to development of sports among student athlete.


Significance of the Study

The significance of this study is built on the theory of impediments on which this study will be anchored. This theory emphasizes that every organization or system has one key constraint or the other which inhibits the system’s performance to meet its objectives. To achieve the objectives of the system, the constraint must be identified and removed or managed. In line with this theory, development of sports among student athlete is bound to have some impediments. The data generated on these impediments will, therefore provide the basis for development of a package for government, sports administrators, and athletes on how to eliminate or reduce the impediments.

The findings which will emanate from the impediments associated with sports personnel will enable school administrators and sport ministries to see the need for training and re-training of secondary school physical education teachers (game masters/mistresses) to cope with the changing trend in sports.

The findings on the impediments associated with government policy will show the importance of appropriate policies. This will enable other policy makers to not only develop policies but also ensure that it is implemented effectively, so that it will have significant impact on development of sports.

The study will generate data on impediments associated with funding of sports. This information will be useful to secondary school sport administrators as it will enable them identify various sources of fund and the need for proper management of funds for sports development..

Data will also be generated on the impediments associated with the adequacy and availability of facilities and equipment. This will enable school sports administrators, and athletes to adopt better ways of making effective use of available facilities and equipment in the school, and also the need for improvisation of facilities and equipment not available.

The findings which will emanate from the impediments associated with sports programmes will enable game masters/mistresses to be better equipped with knowledge of the various sports programmes in the secondary school and be able to harness them well for the development of sports.


Finally, it is expected that Nsukka Education Zone which has many secondary schools will be duly exposed to the impediments to development of sports, with a view to overcoming them thereby boasting the image of sports in secondary school in the secondary schools in the zone.

Scope of the Study

This study was delimited to Nsukka Education Zone. The investigation was confined only to the principals, physical education teachers and game prefects of the state government secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone. This study was also delimited to sports personnel, sports facilities and equipment, funding, government policy and sports programmes for the development of sports.


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