Most nations have sports associations; these associations are designed to empower and develop the sport and keep it healthy for future players, fans, spectators, etc. It is important for all countries to have professional and competitive associations.
Sports Associations in Nigeria
Nigeria has sports associations, but some of the associations that we know of are not up to standards. I think this is a real shame, as the overall spirit of sports in Nigeria is great.
The FISCA (Federation of International Sports Associations) was formed in 1963 with the association of countries from non-English speaking continents. Today it is one of the most powerful and successful sports associations in the world.
The FISCA governs over about 50 sports including football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, tennis, golf, cricket, track and field, ice hockey, swimming, and diving Annapolis Sports Association. However, it is also a member of the Olympic movement and produces the games that represent the Olympic sport. Nigeria is proud to be associated with such a prestigious organization.
The Association of African National Board (or AANB) is the governing body for many amateur sports in Nigeria. However, it is not strong enough to create its own national league. The AANB is currently involved in a dispute with the government on the issue of how the association can develop a professional league for African teams. It appears to be a quandary for the AANB, as it does not have the financial means to start a league of its own, although it would like to.
The Central Association of Football Associations or CAFSA is the confederation for soccer clubs in Nigeria. It is strongly affiliated to FIFA, the sport’s governing body, and is considered by many, the most powerful association in African football.
Recently, CAFSA had proposed a new Professional Sports Anti-Corruption and Sports Administration (PSASA) that is expected to bring it closer to international standards. However, any move by the CAFSA towards setting up its own independent board may be political.
The Association of Sportive Associations of Nigeria (ASTN) is the only confederation in the country that is formally recognized by FIFA. This association is made up of 90 individual sports associations from across the country. Unlike the CAFSA, which is dominated by an elite group of soccer players, the ASTN is dominated by football players such as goalkeeper Samuel Eto’o Fils, forward strikers Kwadwo Nkundabatware and Nigerian goalkeeper Albert Ayuso.
There are still many loopholes that the government needs to address to strengthen the position of these associations. For instance, the government needs to provide subsidies for football academies that will result in professional players being produced. The last effort to reform the codes of football in Nigeria has been the 2021 FIFA World Cup tournament, which is hosted by Africa and will be hosted by Germany and Japan.
Many have criticized the lack of sports infrastructure that the country has developed for the event; however, the sport’s enthusiasts are hoping that this is the first step to building a stronger platform for sports associations in Nigeria. The association of sports in Nigeria is in a state of development and has room to improve.