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Background to the Study

Cowell and Schwehn (1995) defined sports as any type of play, game, or method of entertainment, as well as related activities. According to Hornby (2001), sports are defined as an outdoor or indoor game, competition, or activity governed by rules and requiring physical exertion or skill. Onifade (2003) defined sport as an institutionalized competitive activity that requires participants to engage in significant physical exertion or the application of rather complicated physical skill. Sports are defined in this study as games and plays with varying degrees of organization that occur in a secondary school setting. These activities and performances may or may not be competitive, but they may increase student involvement.

Sports are extremely popular around the world due to the variety of objectives they serve. According to Onifade (2001), athletics as a social institution educates and reinforces society views, norms, and values, supporting players in assimilating to significant cultural and social behavior patterns in many civilizations. Bucher and Krotee (2002) asserted that sports aid in the development of character, discipline, economy, ideology, patriotism, education, mental development, human communication, physical fitness, and health. Sports tournaments, seminars, conferences, and other gatherings of all forms enable individuals from different nations to exchange ideas and expertise, which is enormously beneficial for teaching their respective countries’ citizens. Morakinyo (2002) remarked that sports as a social phenomena have evolved from its modest origins as an entertainment and recreational hobby to become a visible and significant commercial phenomenon that cannot be ignored in any nation’s social, political, and economic context. Numerous great nations and communities across the globe have recognized that involvement in sports is critical to the healthy growth of their population and have utilized it to develop their youth, achieving a level of success that science, religion, and politics have not. Sport has also entered Nigerian society, like it has many other societies worldwide, as well as all facets of societal life, including politics and religion. Awosika (2003) defined sports as a symbol that has worked as an uniting element in Nigeria, describing it as a necessary component of nation building since it transcends all ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic barriers and has functioned as a vehicle for young development.

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.

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.

A problem according to Hornby (2001) is a thing that limits or restricts. Quirk (2003) perceived problem as something that limits ones freedom of doing what he wants to do. In the context of this study, problems 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 in secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu state.

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).

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 in secondary schools is funding. For meaningful development of sports in secondary schools, 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 in secondary schools. 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 problem 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 in secondary schools are problems.

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.

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 in secondary schools 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 problems to sports development in secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone. This study therefore is to examine if the identified problems also impact sports development in secondary schools.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to examine the problems to development of sports in secondary schools.

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

  1. sports personnel for development of sports in secondary schools.
  2. government policy on development of sports in secondary schools.
  3. funding of sports for development of sports in secondary schools.
  4. facilities and equipment for development of sports in secondary.
  5. sports programmes for development of sports in secondary schools.
  6. development of sports in secondary schools according status.


Research Questions

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

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


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 problems to development of sports in secondary schools according to status.

Significance of the Study

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

The findings which will emanate from the problems 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 problems 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 problems 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 problems 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 problems 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 problems 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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