The ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre (EYSDC) has shown its commitment to reviving Traditional African Sports in the sub-region to develop sports both locally and globally.
The specialized agency of the Economic Community of West African States seeks to enrich policies and strategic action plans enshrined in their agenda for 2050.
The EYSDC at a stakeholder workshop positions sports as a key sector of the socio-economic lives of the people in the region and a vehicle for human development, peaceful coexistence and regional integration.
The centre seeks to encourage and develop policies and strategic action plans to include Traditional African Sports in the international sports calendar.
Mr Kennedy Barsisa Zaro, Head of Division, Youth Sports and Employment at EYSDC, speaking at the launch of the event, said it was high time efforts were made to put Traditional African sports on the international calendar.
He revealed that most of these continental sports played a key role in bringing various communities together, hence the need to recognize them at the world level.
The Director at ECOWAS Youth and Sports Development Centre, Mr Francis Chuks Njoaguani, said investing in sports in Africawould make it more attractive to the outside world. “I agree with the fact that we need to invest more into these traditional African sports to attract international bodies to include them in their various competitions, like the Olympics.”
He also urged Africans, most especially the youth to play their part in championing this campaign of promoting sports on the continent. The ECOWAS Youth Policy and Strategic Plan policy was developed and adopted by the conference of ECOWAS Ministers of Youth but was endorsed in 2012.
Professor Orakinyo Ebenezer of the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, commenting on the issue of funding and sponsorship, said that the centre needed to address this going forward.
The centre had previously organized various sporting events such as the ECOWAS Games, ECOWAS cyclist tour, Burkina Floor Ball, and West Africa Deaf Sports, among others.
Present at the meeting were some members of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), and representatives of the various West African countries. The EYSDC is working with other international sports organizations to make this vision of globalizing Traditional African sports possible.
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