Armed Forces Sports Competition: Defence Minister Harp’s on Physically, Mentally Fit Personel As Game Changer’s in Combat Operation’s



Minister of Defence, Major Gen Bashir Magashi (rtd) has emphasized the need for personnel of the armed forces of Nigeria to be ready at all times to meet with the demand of tackling the myriads of security challenges disclosing that
“It is physically and mentally fit personnel that make the difference in combat operation’s.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Armed Forces Inter-Service Sport’s Competition at the Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister said, “The current security challenges confronting our dear nation are enormous and thus, calls for synergy and cooperation among the 3 Armed Services.


Represented by the Director, Army, Ministry of Defence, Mr. Attah, Magashi said, “These physically and mentally fit personnel are able to endure tough weather/terrain conditions and other stressful harsh battle conditions.


“Physical fitness therefore remains the cornerstone of troops combat readiness as it keeps Service Personnel in the top, physical state that enable them carry out/achieve assigned tasks.

“We are not unaware of the huge efforts and great sacrifice our troops make at tackling the security challenges we are faced with.


“The importance of physical fitness to an Armed Forces such as ours cannot be overemphasized, particularly at this time that we are contending with a myriad of security challenges.

“On the whole, physical fitness is the basis for service personnel’s good health and physical wellbeing.

“This explains why avenues such as this Inter Service Sports Competition need to be continuously created to facilitate mutual interaction amongst our troops.



“The organization of this competition could not have thus, come at a better time as it readily stands to test the physical fitness/readiness of the competing personnel.

While commending the efforts of the Chief of Defence Staff for putting together the Sports Competition, he said it will “foster comradeship among our service personnel while promoting synergy among the 3 Armed Service as professionally required”.

“To the participating athletes, I charge you all to imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship and strive to put in optimal performance towards winning laurels for your various Armed Services. Furthermore, let fair play be your watchword as you keep in focus, the objective for the organization of this sports fiesta”.



Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor
stated that the 2022 Armed Forces Inter-Service Sports Competition is aimed at strengthening ties among troops, instilling discipline and readiness to serve a common cause in the armed forces.

The CDS who was represented by the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao maintained that, “The place of friendly sporting competition such as the Inter-Service games in fostering desired working relationship and promote synergy among the members of the armed forces cannot be overemphasized.

He said, “This is because fitness of the body and contentment of mind come more readily in the free atmosphere of games. More so, sports provide a basis for team work that is needed for troops to be able to function with a cohesion that is often called upon both during peacetime military engagements and combat operations.


“As we all know, warfare is a grueling experience and the ability to advance long distances with full combat gear through rugged terrains and to fight effectively requires strength, agility and stamina from troops.

“This can only be conditioned through sports and effective physical fitness training. As such, team sports have been found to provide both physiological and psychological benefits that reduce stress, illness and injuries especially during operations.

“Accordingly, physical fitness and mental alertness of personnel have become key considerations for the armed forces to meet increasing demands of current and emerging threats.

“This is in line with my leadership focus which is to “Foster a Professional Armed Forces Capable of Effectively Meeting Constitutional Imperatives”. Sports is a key element of achieving this goal


“With the AFN current engagements in several operations across the country, the need to maintain high level of physical fitness among troops is a necessity for operational successes.

“The area of physical training especially through sports is one that requires much attention in order to better prepare for current and emerging challenges.

“This is underscored by the nature of insurgency and other internal security challenges which places huge demand on personnel combat readiness and thus necessitates the need to sustain high levels of physical fitness and combat alertness. I therefore implore you to compete with this goal in mind

Continuing he said, “To the participants and competitors, I urge you to compete in the spirit of sportsmanship. Be gracious in defeat and be accommodating in victory. Strive for glory but by all means, develop your abilities and learn something new.

“Let this period be a time of relief and true fellowship with one another. We must all see ourselves as members of a larger family with one goal, belonging to the armed forces that is an indispensable component in sustaining the defence of our dear nation.

Declaring that, “The AFN has made giant strides in encouraging personnel and their families to always engage in sports through organized events like the Armed Forces and Security Agencies Half Marathon, Children Sports Clinic and various sports championships”, Irabor said, “These competitions, aside being aimed at promoting synergy and cooperation between the AFN and other security agencies, has encouraged troops to build fitness and maintain combat readiness.

“Several talents discovered from competitions of this nature are representing the country in different international sporting events and making exploits.

“May 1 also inform you all that the Armed Forces Cross Country Team would be selected from this Inter-Service Sports Competition to represent the AFN in the 58 World Military Cross Country Competition slated to hold at Beja, Portugal next month.

“In this light, we would continue to create platforms and avenues such as this for the discovery of new talents and promoting physical fitness among members of the AFN.

“On this note, I will like to use this opportunity to express our profound gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari, for his unwavering support and commitment to the operational and welfare needs of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.

“These support and commitment have been instrumental to the modest successes we have achieved in tackling the myriads of security challenges confronting our dear nation. I would also like to appreciate our Special Guest of Honour, the Hon Minister of Defence, Maj Gen Bashir Salihi Magashi (Rtd) for the guidance he provides for the Armed Forces of Nigeria. I appreciate the Service Chiefs for their cooperation and relentless efforts at ensuring the smooth conduct of our operations and other military activities.”

Over 180 athletes from the Services (Nigerian Army, Navy and Air Force) will compete for laurels in 5 games namely: Basketball, Cross Country, Football, Taekwondo and Volleyball during the competition.

Present at the opening ceremony were the Chief of Army Staff,Lt. Gen Faruk Yahaya, Chief of the Naval Staff,Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo and Principal Staff Officer’s from the Defence and Services headquarter’s among other


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