7th August 2020




DATE: 21.05.2020





BRIEF EXPLANATION: Pre-colonial games are sports that have existed before the introduction of modern and international games, examples are: the abula games, ayo game and langa game. These games have specific rules and regulations guiding them and they as well promote teamwork and co-operation. Abula is a Nigerian ball game that was invented by Mr. Elias Yusuf in 1984, it is played on a court of dimensions 16m by 8m with a net that is 2.44 m high in the middle, it is played with a tennis size ball and a bat with two teams of four players in each team.

Basic rules of abula game include:

  1. The abula bat should weigh between 0.50kg and 0.75kg.
  2. Players dresses consist of vests, shorts, skirts and canvas shoes.
  3. A toss is used to determine the side that will start the game.
  4. A point can be scored whether servicing or receiving.
  5. One hand or two hands can be used to hold the bat during play.
  6. Time-out can be called twice by the captain of each team.

Skills and techniques of abula game include:

  1. Service – These can be abula bat overhead service, abula bat underarm service and abula bat push service.
  2. Bend – picking-these can be double hand grip, or single hand grip.
  3. Ball placement and ball deflation.
  4. Rally,
  5. Foot work
  6. Setting

Abula game officials are:

  1. 1 referee
  2. 1 umpire/assistant referee
  3. 1 table scorer
  4. 1 board scorer
  5. Four linesmen


Ayo game

Farmers in the southwestern part of Nigeria discovered a tree that produces smooth, hard and small spherical shape seeds and later came up with the idea of using the seeds to play a game which is very popular in Nigeria and some parts of Africa. Ayo means “seeds for playing” it is played on a carved wooden board measuring 0.8m by 0.2m long with twelve holds (six on each side of the board) each player tries to win seeds from the opponent’s side.

Basic rules of ayo game includes:

  1. A toss should be used to determine who starts the game first.
  2. Interference from spectators is not allowed.
  3. A player shall not reverse his play when he has placed the first seed in a hold.
  4. There should be decorum during play.
  5. A player can only capture two or three seeds in an opponent’s holds.

Officials of ayo game are:

  1. A referee
  2. An umpire
  3. A recorder
  4. A scorer



Langa game

Langa game is a team event played by 12 players, each team has 6 players and 6 substitutes. There is a destination which the target should touch or reach in order to win.

Rules and regulations of langa game

  1. The game shall be played in an area covering 30m by 50m.
  2. There shall be a centre line to demarcate the two sides.
  3. Anyone displaced shall leave the team while another player replaces him.

Officials of langa game include:

  1. Destination supervisor
  2. An umpire
  3. A referee
  4. A recorder/scorer
  5. A match commissioner

Significance of Abula, Ayo and langa games are as follows

  1. They help to build strength and stamina.
  2. They promote friendship and social interaction.
  3. They tone up the muscles and build body physique.
  4. They develop mental alertness.
  5. They promote cultural heritage.
  6. Builds confidence and endurance

Exercises / Assignment

  1. Describe the origin of these sports; abula, ayo, and langa games.
  2. List three basic skills and techniques of each of these games, abula, ayo, and langa.
  3. List any other pre-colonial sport that you know.
  4. State five importance of sport activities.