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Editorials, Sports

The Challenges And Opportunities Of Hosting Major Sports Events In Nigeria

Nigeria has faced challenges in securing the rights to host topevents due to issues with infrastructure and security.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 25th April 2023

Nigeria has the potential to host international tournaments, as the country has a rich history of sports and a large and passionate fan base. Nigeria has hosted several international events in the past, including sports tournaments such as the FIFA U-17 World Cup, the All Africa Games, and the African Cup of Nations. However, these events have been marred by several challenges and issues.


One of the main challenges faced by Nigeria in hosting international events is security. Nigeria has faced security concerns related to terrorism, insurgency, and general crime, and international events hosted in Nigeria have been targeted by terrorist groups in the past.


Another challenge faced by Nigeria in hosting international events is infrastructure. Nigeria has struggled with inadequate sports facilities and poor transportation systems, which have made it difficult to host large-scale events. This has led to concerns around the safety and comfort of participants and spectators, as well as the quality of the event.



There have also been concerns around corruption and mismanagement in the organization of international events in Nigeria. Funds allocated for the events have been embezzled or misused by officials, leading to poor management and organization of the events.




The last time Nigeria hosted a world-class tournament was in 2009, when they hosted the FIFA U-17 World Cup. The tournament was held across eight different cities in Nigeria, and it was considered a success in terms of organization and fan attendance. Since then, Nigeria has not hosted any major international tournaments, but they have bid for several events, including the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the African Cup of Nations. However, Nigeria has faced challenges in securing the rights to host these events due to issues with infrastructure and security. Nevertheless, Nigeria remains committed to developing its sports infrastructure and bidding for major international tournaments in the future.



There are several ways that Nigeria can increase its chances of winning the right to host an international tournament. Here are a few:


  • Develop World-Class Sports Infrastructure: Nigeria needs to have adequate sports facilities, stadiums, transportation systems, and accommodation to support the tournament. Nigeria needs to improve its sports infrastructure to meet international standards, which may involve building new facilities or upgrading existing ones to meet the requirements of the tournament.


  • Address Security Concerns: Security is a key consideration when it comes to hosting international tournaments. Nigeria needs to have effective security measures in place to prevent incidents of terrorism, crime, or other threats to the safety of participants and spectators. Nigeria needs to work with law enforcement agencies to implement appropriate security measures and protocols.


  • Develop Strong Bid Proposals: Nigeria needs to develop strong bid proposals that demonstrate its ability to host the tournament. This may involve highlighting Nigeria’s sports infrastructure, security measures, transportation systems, accommodation, and hospitality services.


  • Build International Partnerships: Nigeria needs to build partnerships with international sports organizations, governments, and stakeholders. Nigeria needs to engage with international organizations such as FIFA, CAF, and other sports governing bodies to strengthen its bid and demonstrate its commitment to hosting the tournament.


  • Promote The Country: Nigeria needs to promote the country to attract fans and generate interest in the event. Nigeria needs to work with media outlets, develop advertising campaigns, and leverage social media platforms to market and promote the tournament.




There are many potential benefits to Nigeria hosting a tournament, such as:


  • Boosting The Economy: Hosting a major tournament like the African Cup of Nations or the FIFA World Cup can have a significant positive impact on the economy. The influx of tourists, increased spending on transportation, accommodation, and local businesses can help to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.


  • Improving Infrastructure: Hosting a tournament can also lead to significant improvements in infrastructure, including upgrades to transportation systems, roads, and telecommunications networks. These improvements can benefit the country long after the tournament has ended.


The National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos has not been properly maintained or upgraded, leading to its current state of disrepair. In recent years, there have been calls for the government to invest in the renovation and modernization of the stadium to bring it up to international standards.


  • Building National Pride: Hosting a tournament can also help to build national pride and unite the country behind a common cause. This can have a positive impact on social cohesion and help to promote a sense of belonging and identity


  • Promoting Tourism: Hosting a tournament can help to promote Nigeria as a tourist destination and increase the country’s profile on the global stage. This can lead to increased interest in the country from potential visitors, which can benefit the tourism industry.


  • Showcasing Local Culture: Hosting a tournament can also provide an opportunity to showcase local culture, including music, dance, and cuisine. This can help to promote Nigeria’s unique cultural heritage and increase appreciation for the country’s diversity.


Overall, hosting a tournament can have many potential benefits for Nigeria, both in the short and long term. However, it is important to carefully consider the costs and potential risks associated with hosting such an event before committing to it.




There are several international tournaments that Nigeria could potentially host, including:


  • African Cup of Nations: Nigeria has previously hosted the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in 1980, 2000, and 2004. As one of the most prestigious football competitions on the continent, AFCON would be an excellent opportunity for Nigeria to showcase its footballing culture and infrastructure.


  • FIFA Women’s World Cup: Nigeria has a strong women’s football team, and hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup would be a great opportunity to promote the sport and encourage more girls and women to get involved. With its growing reputation as a destination for business and tourism, Nigeria could also benefit from the increased exposure that comes with hosting a major international event.


  • African Nations Championship: The African Nations Championship (CHAN) is a biennial football tournament for locally-based players. Hosting CHAN would be an opportunity to showcase the country’s domestic football talent and promote the development of grassroots football.


  • FIBA Africa Basketball Championship: Nigeria has a strong basketball culture, and hosting the FIBA Africa Basketball Championship would be an opportunity to showcase the country’s basketball talent and infrastructure. With basketball becoming increasingly popular in Africa, hosting the tournament would also help to promote the sport and encourage more young people to get involved.


  • World Taekwondo Championships: Taekwondo is a popular martial art in Nigeria, and the country has previously hosted regional and continental championships. Hosting the World Taekwondo Championships would be an opportunity to showcase Nigeria’s martial arts culture and promote the sport to a wider international audience.
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