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Editorials, Sports

The Role Of Sports In Empowering Youths In Africa

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does.

  • Toyosi Afolayan
  • 18th April 2023

Sports has the exceptional ability to unite individuals with varying religions, interests, cultures, etc., especially young people. However, up until recently, Nigeria and most African nations largely ignored the enormous potential of sports to achieve educational and development goals among young people. Sports naturally promote involvement from all people, transcending social, racial, and religious barriers. Sports, when used successfully as a vehicle for young development, can thereby promote broader societal development.


It is a potent instrument that can be used to equip toddlers and young people with life skills. It makes it easier for underprivileged people, like street kids and those with disabilities, to become better and reintegrate into society. By their very nature, sports activities demand perseverance, teamwork, discipline, and leadership, all of which foster confidence and motivation for personal growth. Early participation in sports helps children and teens by finding their abilities, whether they are physical or not, and inspiring and leading them to pursue those abilities as vocations. Sports improve community engagement, integration, and cohesion whether at schools, churches, mosques, or clubs.


For more inclusive development, sports can be utilized to organize and empower young women and girls who are often more likely to be discouraged from participating in sports and/or the disabled. For young people, women, and vulnerable groups that are frequently exposed to harmful influences, sport is a crucial service.


The youths are undoubtedly among the most impressionable members of society, making sports programs that are both effective and well-structured excellent tools for developing character in young people. It is crucial to start participating in sports at a young age since the lessons one can acquire from athletics can be incredibly beneficial, character-defining, and life-altering.




Empowerment in Africa refers to the process of enabling individuals and communities to take control of their own lives and make decisions that affect their future. This can be achieved by providing access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities, as well as by promoting human rights and gender equality.


It also involves giving individuals a voice and a platform to express their opinions and participate in decision-making processes at all levels of society, from local to national. It means providing the tools and resources necessary to build self-confidence, resilience, and leadership skills, and creating an environment that fosters innovation and creativity.


Empowerment in Africa is essential to address the many challenges facing the continent, including poverty, inequality, and political instability. It can help to promote sustainable development, build stronger communities, and create a brighter future for all Africans.


Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than governments in breaking down racial barriers.’


Sadio Mane is undoubtedly an inspiration to many young people in Senegal, particularly children who aspire to be professional footballers. Mane grew up in a small village in southern Senegal and faced numerous challenges and obstacles on his journey to becoming a professional footballer. Despite this, he persevered and worked hard to achieve his goals, and he is now widely regarded as one of the best players in the world.




Sports can be a powerful tool for empowerment in Africa because it has the potential to bring people together, promote healthy lifestyles, and build confidence and leadership skills in young people. Here are some ways in which sports can be used as a tool for empowerment:


  • Building Communities: Sports can bring people from different backgrounds and cultures together and promote social cohesion. This can help to build stronger communities and promote tolerance and understanding.


  • Promoting Healthy Lifestyles: Participating in sports can promote physical health and well-being. It can also help to prevent disease and reduce healthcare costs.


  • Building Confidence And Leadership Skills: Sports can help young people to build self-confidence, develop leadership skills, and learn how to work as part of a team. These skills are transferable to other areas of life, including education and employment.


  • Promoting Gender Equality: Sports can be used to promote gender equality by encouraging girls and women to participate in sports and challenging gender stereotypes.


  • Providing Opportunities: Sports can provide opportunities for young people who may not have access to other forms of empowerment, such as education or employment. It can also provide a pathway to professional sports careers and scholarships to universities.


  • Fostering National Pride: Sports can help to foster national pride and identity. This can be particularly important in post-conflict or divided societies where sports can be used to promote reconciliation and unity.


Overall, sports can be a powerful tool for empowerment in Africa, promoting physical and mental health, building strong communities, and providing opportunities for young people to develop their skills and achieve their potential.


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