The need for a formalized training of coaches was felt after Nigeria’s exposure to the Olympic Games of 1952, but it was much later that a serious effort was made at harmonizing the various sporadic coaching clinics all over Nigeria.

In November 1972, the Executive Committee of the National Sports Commission (NSC) officially endorsed the establishment of an Institute for the training of Coaches, sports Organizers and other sports functionaries. A Technical Sub-committee was set up to look into the training programmes of East European countries and other aspects that were influencing the progress recorded by these countries in sports. Consequently, an agreement was reached with the government of Germany on technical co-operation. Top Physical and Health Education professionals from Nigeria Universities as well as National and State Coaches in various sports were invited to Lagos to draw up a coaching programme for the country. The exercise was later concluded at the University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University); that marked the beginning of pilot courses organized under the auspices of the National Institute for Sports (NIS) in three centres namely the Universities of Ife and Ibadan as well as Ogbe Stadium, Benin.

Early in 1976, two German Experts: Mr. Hoerst Beyer and Professor H. Dubberke were dispatched to Nigeria. These Experts together with Mr. Heinze Marotzke, another German Expert who was already in Nigeria and Dr. Awoture Eleyae, then Principal of NIS, reviewed the Institutes’ curriculum. At that time, the construction work on NIS building had begun. In order to run off more experimental courses and to check on the results of the earlier courses, it was found necessary to organize some temporary coaching academies outside Lagos but under the auspices of the Training Institute. It must be mentioned here that also by May 1, 1975, the Executive committee of the NSC had promoted Dr. Eleyae to the post of Deputy Director of sports and Principal for the National Institute for sports. He, Dr. Eleyae therefore, took on the management of the initial activities. Professor H. Dubberke and Mr. Hoerst Beyer joined the team of Dr. Eleyae and Mr. Heinz Marotzke in February 1976. The four officials went on to review the curriculum that was prepared in 1975. As a result, they decided experimentally that; 8 sports would be featured for a period of one month. Since the facilities were not adequate, at that time because of the cost of residence in Lagos, the courses were moved to three centres – University of Ibadan (Tennis and Wrestling), Ogbe Stadium Benin (Swimming) and the University of Ife (Athletics, Football, Gymnastics, Boxing, Volleyball and Weightlifting). A total of 280 participants were involved. Lecturers and instructors were drawn from all over the country to supplement the four members of the institute and the activities of the national coaches in the sports that were featured. After one month it was discovered that the curriculum for the coaching programme for the lowest grade of coaches could not be covered.

In 1987, the Minister for Sports, Air Vice Marshall Bayo Lawal (Rtd) set up a panel to look into the NIS challenges and make suggestions for improvement. The report and recommendations of the panel submitted in 1988 expanded curricular to a uniform period of 9 months for all courses and the administrative change in the headship of the Institute from Principal to Director.

In 2002, the 1988 report was reviewed in order to meet the accreditation requirements. The general observations and findings of the Expert Assessors necessitated the holistic review of the curriculum, a change in entry qualification; duration, mode of studies; and syllabus. The Assessors’ recommendation which was adopted by Council, restructured the courses to duration ranging from 12 to 24 months for Diploma and Higher Diploma courses depending on entry qualifications.

The Institute’s bilateral relationship with Australian government in (2001 – 2002), brought about the establishment of Athlete Development Programme. Hence, the National Institute for Sports was divided into two arms i.e. the Education/Research; and the Athlete Development Centres. The Education Centre located in Lagos is the Headquarter. It is saddled with the responsibility of ensuring production of top quality sports manpower and sport research while the Athlete Development Programme in Abuja was established to discover, harness and nurture young talented Athletes into high performing Elite Athletes. see more...


The NIS mandates as specified in the Decree – now an Act are as follows:

  • pursue the advancement of learning in specialized areas of sports development including management;
  • conduct specialized professional coaching courses and research at various levels of Sports;
  • run courses for top level policy makers and executors in the realm of sports administration with a view to broadening their conceptual and executive capacity and perspectives;
  • conduct seminars, workshops and other intensive programmes on a continual or ad hoc basis for sports administrators and coaches;
  • provide adequate technical facilities for the advancement of knowledge and skill in sports;
  • disseminate by way of learned publication the academic activities of the Institute;
  • engage in extracurricular activities towards the full development of the minds and bodies of sportsmen;
  • award certificates of attendance to those who participate in and attain a sufficiently satisfactory standard in any of the courses organized by the Institute;
  • organize courses of instruction and provide necessary facilities and other qualifications of such other professions allied to sports as the Council may determine and;
  • promote or undertake such other activities (not inconsistent with the foregoing provisions of this section) as the Council considers will help to further the objectives of the Institute.


The National Sports Policy Mandate to NIS is presented below:

SECTION 1.1.10

Section 1.1.10 inter-alia highlighted that the NIS … “attained the status of a Parastatal through Decree 31 of 1992 as an institution dedicated to training and research in all aspects of sports.”



  • “National Sports Federations in collaboration with National Institute for sports (NIS) and/or any other relevant sports agency shall, develop a long-term training programme that will enable their athletes win laurels at international competitions”.
  • “National Sports Federations in collaboration with National Institute for Sports (NIS) and/or any other relevant sports agency shall institute cohesive training programmes/courses for coaches to develop their competence to implement the pathway that supports athlete development”.
  • “The National Institute for sports shall develop, review and streamline curricula for sports academies, monitor and regulate their activities”.

Established in 1972 and dedicated to higher performance in sports, the Institute has over the years produced over 15000 manpower in sports who have continued to place Nigeria on the podium in the global arena. Our graduands are predominantly engaged in service in National, State, Local Government, as well as in the sports clubs. A sizable number are in ECOWAS sub-region and other parts of Africa coaching and managing sports.