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The study, “Sport coaching and peace building” is aimed at raveling the role of sport as a unifying agency and a tool for bringing about peace and development thereby reducing crime and delinquency in Nigeria, a case study of Plateau state. Nigeria is a complex nation and multi regional, ethnic, political, religious and culturally diverse population. The problem of integration still remains a challenge (among others) to the country. The researcher employed structural functionalism as a theoretical frame work. The study employed descriptive survey design and data was collected using questionnaire and interview. Questionnaires were distributed to a total sample of (120) respondents which were selected for the study using stratified random sampling technique. Total of (15) respondents were also interviewed. The findings revealed that sport has achieved in its role as a unifying agent in Nigeria. Sport teaches good morals, sport contribute to the physical and mental development of the youths, sport help to prevent youth from delinquent behaviours, sport contribute to social development of the community. The researcher recommends that private individuals, organizations and government should invest in sport to encourage its development, policy makers should make and implement policies that would encourage the participation of students in sport, and grass root sport should be encouraged.  The researcher concluded that sport programmes under the supervision of good coaches should be a multi agency approach in building peace and development process.




1.1    Background to the Study

Coaching develops people through improving their performance (Criesfield et al., 2005). Sport is a recognized instrument for promoting peace, as it disregards both geographical borders and social class. It also plays a significant role as a promoter of social integration and economic development in different geographical, cultural and political contexts (Criesfield et al, 2005). The use of sports for purposes of development has been increasingly important topic particularly in post-conflict societies (Giulianotti, 2011). The research on role of sports and particularly football in building peace is becoming even more important for sport organizations, donors as well as policy makers in variety of countries in the world. However, the empirical findings in this regard are not conclusive as in some situations in some countries sports contributes to social harmony while in some others it feeds conflict (Gasser and Levinsen, 2004; Giulianotti, 2011). This is because there is non-agreement in the literature on the role of sports in peace building. First, sport was viewed as mechanism to increase antagonism between rivalry groups and may reinforce division if not properly controlled (Majaro‐Majesty, 2011) of ethnicities and; second sport could facilitate social inclusion and integration (Gasser and Levinsen, 2004). In particular, there is a gap in the literature on how sport can be used more productively as a peace building device in post conflict countries.

Armstrong (2002:1) observed that, to the people of a nation suffering from a decade – long civil conflict, football, in this case sport could be seen by some as an ideal solution to providing a focus of national unity to a society fragmented by both ethnicity, regionalism, and age groupings. The word “sport” etymologically is derived from its Latin root ‘desporto’, meaning “to carry away”. This historical origin implies diversion from instrumental routines and suggests recreation. In historical terms, the idea that participation in sport has some utility (other than being enjoyed for its own sake) can be traced to the mid-nineteenth-century. United kingdom Middle-class reformers in the area of education and urban welfare began to develop the idea that sport participation, appropriately directed, could be involved in the development of character, work directed, could be involved in the development of character, work discipline, teamwork, fair play, and other socially approved characteristics.

Falola, (1998) shown that Sports began to be justified in education, youth detention centers, and by urban agencies, in attempt to affect the character and behavior of participants. These ideas spread to developed countries, and also became a part of the system of colonization, where the British games tradition was often transferred to colonized population. Organized sport is still justified in these same terms as evident in the mission statement of any youth sport organization – what the organization claims will be taught to the participants involves a great deal more than sport.


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