The Worship of Football in Nigeria

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Lagos State University


Abstract Football, from its inception in Nigeria, has occupied a pivotal position in the hearts of many people. A great multitude of fans now follows the games with great passion that life becomes almost meaningless to them without it. The contemporary followership of the sport among Nigerian youths exceeds a mere thirst for entertainment and assumes every form of what religion represents. Several Nigerian youths look forward to the weekend for football matches rather than religious attendance in Churches, while every day of the week never ends without some football-related rituals. This paper, therefore, proposes to study the spiritual dynamics of modern football and its influences on everyday life and the religious commitment of the Nigerian youths to it. It discusses the other aspects of the game and encourages the capacity for society to respond to it to create positive impacts in the lives of the youths. The paper draws its data from interactions and observation of the practices of Nigerian professional footballers and its community of fans. It highlights the observable worship of the game as being attributable to the massive similarities that exist between football and religion which the former combines with greater entertaining passion and social candour. It therefore suggests that religions in Nigeria should embrace football as a channel of achieving religious harmony as this would combine the appeal of the game with religious guidance to curb the behavioural responses that are devoid of spiritual and religious virtues.



Worship, Football, Spirituality, Nigeria


Ogunade, R and Joseph S. Olaniyan (2022), “The Worship of Football in Nigeria”, International Journal of Christianity and Sports, 1(1);66-72. Lagos State University:African Congress on Christianity and Sports