The Power of Sports by Deji Omotoyingbo

January 30, 2024
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“Sports has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, the power to unite people in a way nothing else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sports can create hope, where once there was only despair”- NELSON MANDELA

From this famous quote by the late Sage, I pick out four words.


Most of our youth population are in despair. They cannot see a pathway to progress and success. They are bogged down in a society that tends to undermine them due to a lack of genuine opportunities for self-development. In their despair the tendency is to turn to the streets. They join gangs or cults. They look for short cuts via pathways that only lead to destruction. Street culture and pop culture which promotes all kinds of vices and negative lifestyles become the attraction. It is a one-way journey that can only end in a lifetime of broken dreams and endless disappointments.

So, what’s the way out? Where can they find the hope to inspire them to true greatness? What platform can create a glorious pathway to the future?

One pathway is EDUCATION. The other pathway is SPORTS. The good news is both can work together for the good of our youth.

Sports teaches life skills that are useful in all spheres of human existence. Exercise. Discipline. Dedication. Timeliness. Respect. Teamwork. Hardwork. Patience. Persistence. Healthy living. Winning Graciously. Losing Gallantly. Giving it your best shot. The list is endless. These are life skills that are useful in any sphere of life even if that child eventually does not become a professional athlete. Sport Mirrors Life and in Sport as in Life, there is an eternal lesson.


Success comes from a lifetime of dedication and discipline. Working hard, grinding, and grafting over a period before reaching your goals in any sphere of human endeavor. This is what Sport and Life teaches us and these are the values we need to imbibe in our Youth.

Sport is also a great tool to UNITE people. In a country ravaged by religious, political, ethnic, and tribal faultiness like Nigeria, it is unfortunate that successive Governments have not realized the POWER OF SPORTS to galvanise and unite the country.  Like us, South Africa has similar, if not more powerful divisions within the fabric of the country. However, their Sports teams are being cleverly used by their country to create a common hope. A perfect example is their Rugby team, The Springboks, who just won the World Cup for a record 4th time. In the days of Apartheid, the team was a symbol of oppression. Today, the Springbok team is the strongest unifying factor and the pride of ALL South Africans, irrespective of tribe, colour and creed post-apartheid.


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