Solutions to problems associated with development of sports facilities in rural and urban communities

Solutions to problems associated with development of sports facilities in rural and urban communities



P. G. Akintunde (PhD)


V. O. Akintunde (Mrs.)

Department of Vocational and Special Education

University of Calabar, Calabar.

Cross River State, Nigeria


One of the most important factors to consider in planning any sports programme is facility. Despite its importance enough attention is not accorded it in our community. The negligence couple with many other factors has contributed immensely to inadequate or lack of provision and development of sports facilities in both our rural and urban communities. Other factors such as prevailing economic situation in Nigeria, religion, land  tenure system, politic, geographical location and the climate, socio-cultural background, the level of health awareness of individuals and the influence of pressure groups were examined along with facilities, suggestions were made for the development of sports facilities and precaution towards workability of the suggestions were given.

Keywords: Sports facilities problems and solutions.


The basic consideration in the development of any sports is the availability of adequate facilities (indoor and outdoor) for use when needed. Ideally there should be provision of sufficient indoor and outdoor facilities in both our communities and schools; obviously this is not the case in Nigeria. The question now arises, how do we provide sports facilities in our communities?

To start with, we should not forget that our academic institution, voluntary organizations, clubs, industries, firms and corporations are all operating within the community. For example our institutions of learning are responsible to government and are also aiming at achieving the societal goals with the hope of meeting and satisfying the community needs and interests. Sports have a culture that relates to the culture of the societies, hence, it is a means of culture integration.

When developing sports programmes for a particular population, the community should be the real focus of decision making. The planning of such programme should therefore reflect the needs and interest of the community in line with the prospect of having facilities for the programme. Development of sports facilities can only be embarked upon after an outline of sports policy and programmes has been made. It is therefore of worth to first discuss the problems facing the development of sports facilities in Nigeria’s urban and rural communities


Economic Situation

The prevailing economic situation in Nigeria has contributed a lot to the problems facing individual and every community today. The major task now is how to obtain enough money to bridge the gap between the amount and quality of needed sports facilities and the available financial support. The economy of a community has a great impact on the quantity and quality of sports facilities it can afford and develop. An economically weak community may find it difficult to provide and maintain sports facilities and equipment. In an economically viable community, sports facilities will enjoy strong economic support if such community is sports conscious.


Religion may have influence on the sports interest of a community and this will eventually reflect on the provision and development of sports facilities in such community. A few religious groups frown at certain activities such as social dancing and swimming. The latter is frowned upon because dress use in its participation expose too much of the sacred parts particularly woman. Since sports facilities need to be backed with facilities developing, facilities in such community with the bulk of the population not being interested are a waste.

Land Tenure System

The land tenure system in Nigeria most especially in the southern part has also been creating a lot of problems not only for agricultural production but also in developing sports facilities. The impact is more felt in the urban communities where there is no proper and effective town planning. Land owners sell their land without much consideration for playing or recreational spaces. All they want is money and little consideration is given to welfare of the users. The worst happening in the spaces available are either used to build residence or shops by members of the family (clan) that owns it.


Politics has a role to play in development of sports generally. This is especially true in civilian regime. The interest and priority of a political party may determine the progress of sports programme and the facilities for them. Politicians who are deeply interested in sports will definitely be interested in developing sports facilities. However, a politically motivated community programmes for development of sports facilities may suffer at a time of change in political situation if the other side in power is not interested in such a programme.

Geographical and Climate Consideration

The geographical location and the climate of a community may be influencing factors in the development of sports facilities. An area endowed with many rivers (reverine area) and plenty of water would be expected to develop sports facilities for aquatic sports due to its natural endowment.

In Nigeria for example, due to the climatic and topographic condition of Mambilla in Taraba State, the federal government has established a games village for training athletes in endurance sports for international competitions. The natural endowment of an environment would determine the activities of interest to local residents. Thus, it is better to determine the activities and interests of a community in relation to its climate and topography. This will even enable the community to conserve the available fund to develop the facilities and influence sports interest in proportion to the demography of the place (i.e. the population composition of the community). In doing this, the social class (status), races, nationalities, wealth educational backgrounds, ages and gender of the residents should be given consideration before planning sports facilities. It may be very difficult to develop sports facilities in a low socio-economic area especially in the inner city due to the likely financial constraints and some other factors such as availability of land, maintenance and sustenance of such facilities for continuity. For example, places like Bodija estates in Ibadan, Oyo state and festac in Lagos state are well planned with enough consideration for playing and recreation spaces, but contrary to the case when comparing places like Gege and Ajegunle in Oyo and Lagos States respectively.


The attitude of people to sports programme is a factor that can influence development of sports facilities. A community may be interested in sports programme but unwilling or unable to spend much on it if sport is not its priority. In an area with low socio-economic standard, a lot of individuals may not be able or willing to contribute financially to the development of sports facilities

Health Awareness:

The level of health awareness of the individuals in a community may determine the acceptance of ports programme and willingness to develop sports facilities. In America, a lot of people are now running physical fitness programme to keep them fit and health. A community that cherishes the health of its individuals would not mind the cost of developing sports facilities. Where a community is not aware of the relationship between physical fitness and sound health, little concern would be given to development of sports facilities.

Pressure Group:

The influence of pressure groups on a community may be utilized to develop sports facilities since they are forces to be reckoned with in the society.

All the factors discussed above can either help or mar any attempt to develop sports facilities in any community if they are not given proper consideration.

The Way Forward

How can we develop sports facilities in our community?

Sports facilities can be developed by various bodies in the community provided the goals and objective are understood.

An individual in a community can embark on developing sports facilities. A philanthropist especially sports lover may take a decision to reflect his/ her love for sports. Notable examples are late Chief Adedoyin Ogundoyin who built a stadium and organized and sponsored a football club in his home town, Chief Raheem Adejumo, the president of Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC) has also made contribution in facility sports development and Chief M.K.O. Abiola who was a good example. Chief M.K.O. Abiola enthusiastic and love for sports with his contribution to sports won him the title «the pillar of sports in Africa». People like these if well encouraged can build or contribute to building of standard facility.

In a situation where the development of sports facilities is too costly to afford by a single person, a joint effort may be sought. In this case, many sports lovers who have the means (capital ) and are willing to sponsor part or whole programmes can come together to develop sports facilities. Similarly, the individuals or philanthropists and the community may decide to levy themselves and join efforts in order to develop sports facilities. Recreation clubs are good example of this. However this should be properly coordinated by the government.

Every individual in the community always look up to government to do everything for them especially things that are meant for public consumption. Unfortunately, government can not do everything but in a situation where it can set a good example for its citizens to follow, such move may be in the right direction. What matters most is for such government to play its part and encourage individuals in the community to assist. Our government should enforce and maintain good town planning in our cities including the so called rural areas and set an example to be set by providing a model sports facilities at least for each community.

A situation where government provides sports facilities (e.g. sports stadium and centers); there is need for proper maintenance and sustenance. The  cost of maintenance may force the government to commercialese such facilities and if care is not taken the  bill may be too  much for the public to bear, eventually the public may be discouraged  and such facilities may not be put to its maximum use. Local government could help in establishing recreational parks and centre, however where hiring fees would be taken it should be very   minimal.

In the course of sports promotion, clubs and societies of various classes could be of help in the development of sports facilities. A club may decide to build its own sports centre(s) as its contribution to sports development. This is now happening in Nigeria with recognition given to professionalism in sports. The only problem with this type of contribution is that such facilities may never be open to the public for use but restricted to members only.

In the same vain there are other institutions such as corporations, industries, firms and companies that can assist greatly in the development of sports facilities. The health of employees should be the concern of any company that wants maximum workers, output. Many commercial and government institutions are now conscious of the importance of physical fitness and health programmes for their employees.

However there are guidelines for the use of sports facilities provided by these institutions. Guidelines such as specific hours of operations of the facilities, a written set of operational procedure and objectives and training for participants and so on may reduce the accessibility of these facilities to the public. In Nigeria we have many companies and corporations establishing and funding sports clubs that are making their marks at national and international competitions. Tax relief may be given to such companies or industries on the amount spend on facilities for sports.

Apart from the establishment of sports clubs, these institutions also involve themselves in the promotion of recreation programs. Many of them have staff clubs or staff recreation centers. Although their sports facilities may not be open to the general public, the fact still remains that they are contributing to the development of sports facilities in their various communities. All that need to be done is for government to establish a working alliance between them and their communities.

A joint industry and government sponsored sports programs will in no small way help in the development of sports facilities in our communities. A joint programme like this will be more viable and be less a burden for the community to maintain. This type of venture may be in form of recreation parks or centers. The local government can easily look for a co-sponsor(s) to develop sports facilities.

There may be a joint programme(s) between the community and the government to develop sports facilities. A lot could be borrowed from the ‘’ Better life for Rural women» where the community was expected to show its interest in establishing or embarking on a project before the local or state or national body could come to assist them. If through a community effort a special facility is established but uncompleted, such community may call for assistance from the government or even private individuals.

A community could even lunch an appeal fund for development of sports facilities. In a situation like this, the goals and the specific plan for the kind of sports facilities the community intends to develop must be clearly defined. This will involve many individuals, corporations, companies, associations, government and various national and international bodies as joint sponsors.

As aforementioned, the facilities available in our communities are limited in number and very few and even most of them are not open to the entire public but for special groups of people because they are owned privately. Therefore, both school and community sports facilities should be planned and used to supplement and complement each other in meeting the needs of students and community.  This demands that government should take more than passive interest in the development of sports facilities in schools. There should also be a reciprocal opportunity between schools and community for the use of the facilities. This will promote cooperation and support between the school and the community where it exists.

Both students and staff of our academic institutions should be encouraged to participate in sports either as intramural or extramural program. There have been cases where alumnus single handedly sponsor big projects in schools. If alumni of various schools are encouraged they can contribute in this regard.

If schools show enough commitment, it will bring awareness to individual member of the community to know that sporting activities are not for academic institution teams or club alone, but all member of the community. This type of awareness may spur such community into developing sports facilities in the community and the academic institutions through either individual efforts or community effort or both.

A community may go beyond the immediate local for assistance. Assistance may be sought from national and international bodies for sponsorship or co-sponsorship to develop sports facilities.

The existing sports facilities in our communities may be developed, maintained and expanded by all the bodies stated above in such communities. Local materials may be adapted or used to improvise some sports materials to reduce cost. Thus weather urban or rural the rule of adaptation should be adopted.

Government should embark upon thorough campaign and publicity for more public awareness to the importance of participation in sporting activities and the prospects it can bring to a community. This may be done through mass media, posters, seminars and clinics for both seniors and juniors staff of various work of life and the public in general  the local, state and federal levels.

Community based sports competitions within and outside localities should be frequently organized to reflect the usefulness of these facilities among various age grades, sex, institutions and clubs to be sponsored by various organizations. Such competition should be intra and extra local.

There should be organization of a community based sports programmes in our various communities. Community service organization programmes should be made used of by government for development of sports facilities. For example, Boys scouts, philanthropic club, charity organizations, religion and social associations who are voluntary association can be appealed to and encouraged to assist in the development of sports facilities. However if religion associations would be involved a distinction should be made between religion interest and sports interest.

All these suggestions would work provided the following precautions are taken:

The local climate and the geographical location of the community should be given adequate consideration while developing sports facilities. This may help in developing the natural facilities in the community.

There should be adequate provision of experts such as coaches, trainers and other technical personnel to make the best use of the available facilities and equipment in such a way that public would see and appreciate the benefits to be derived from them and the importance of having them in the community. Willing community members can be trained as coaches or recreation officials to assist in managing and training other members of the community.

There should be emphasis on formation and sustenance of maintenance culture. The facilities available should be regularly serviced and maintained by all the bodies concerned.

Due to the prevalence pf social vices in our society, adequate provision should be made for supervision, security and safety of the easily removable facilities and equipment.

Local talents should be tapped and recognized in the community and used for their individual and societal progress.


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Bucher, C.A. (1979), Foundation of physical Education; London: The C. A. Mosby Co.

Bucher, C.A. (1983), Administration of physical Education and Athletic Programme; St., Louis: C.V. Mosby Co.

Hall, J. T., Cooper, J .M. Frost, R. B. Shenk, H., Warren, N. and Wiley, R. C. (1973), Administration Principles, Theory and practice with Application to physical Education; Pacific Palisades, California: Goodyear publishing Co.

Nixon, J. E. and Jewett, A. E. (1980), An Introduction to physical Education; Philadelphia: Saunders College press.

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