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Three of the most popular sports in Nigeria that you will want to try out

Sports in Nigeria are not (all) like the sports in Europe or in the rest of the world.

Sports in Nigeria are not (all) like the sports in Europe or in the rest of the world. You see, Nigeria has a very rich culture and sports take a big part of this culture. That is why in this list of popular sports in Nigeria, you will find a lot of traditional Nigerian sports that have been exercised in Nigeria in hundreds of years. So if you are interested in sports, you will not be disappointed when you go to Nigeria – because there are so many different sports to see, take part in and perhaps also to bet on.

Association football (soccer)

Football – or soccer – is the number one most played sport in Nigeria. Not unlike many other places in the world. Nigeria’s national team – the Super Eagles -has actually qualified for the World Championship six times, and because this sport is so very popular in Nigeria, you can of course also place bets on national football matches. Read this guide from if you want to know more about betting on Nigerian football matches or other more traditional Nigerian sports.

Nigerian Dambe boxing

Nigeria has a long tradition of performing martial arts and therefore the next two branches of sports on this list are martial arts. The first being traditional Nigerian Dambe boxing which is a combative sport that is a rather aggressive form of boxing. The two contestants will start off by having one wrist covered with bandages and the other one free. The match takes place within a small, sand-filled circle. The contestants are not allowed to step out of this circle throughout the game, in which the goal is to defeat the opponent using different boxing, wrestling and kick-boxing techniques.

Traditional Nigerian wrestling: Kokawa

Even though the popular martial art-sports are quite violent, they are, nonetheless, very popular both to watch and to take part in. Another very popular martial arts sport in Nigeria is Kokawa, which is a form of wrestling. In this sport – which mostly takes place during festivals – the two contestants wrestle three rounds in a sand-filled circle that is six meters wide. As in traditional, western wrestling, you can compete in different weight classes, which in Nigeria ranges from 40 kg and up to 100 kg. This sport is traditionally performed as a way of men trying to “win the right” to marry a beautiful woman.