By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has reiterated the commitment of the Nigerian Army to enhance the combat readiness and efficiency of its personnel through sports and physical training.
Lagbaja said this on Monday in Abuja at the opening of the Nigerian Army Combat Sports Coaching and Officiating Clinic 2024.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was organised by the Directorate of the Army Physical Training (DAPT).
Represented by the Deputy Chief of Training (Army), Maj.-Gen. Musa Etsu-Ndagi, the COAS explained that the purpose of the clinic was to give army coaches and athletes the required resources and techniques needed to improve their skills.
He said it was also to make them win laurels for the army and professional competence that would translate to troop’s combat efficiency in the field.
He added that the training was in line with the actualisation of his Command Philosophy, which is to “transform the NA into a well-trained, equipped and highly motivated force towards achieving our constitutional responsibilities within a joint environment.”
Lagbaja said he had directed that all training and sporting activities in Training Year 2024 should focus on those events with relevance to kinetic.
He added that the directive was geared towards emphasising the professional conduct of military operations aimed at addressing the security challenges nationwide.
”I am glad to observe that the DAPT has made appreciable efforts to deliver on this mandate.
”In spite of the focus on events with impact on kinetic operations, the directorate under the direction of Army Headquarters Department of Training has continued to innovate training activities to enhance the capacity and performance of our sportsmen in all aspects.
”Accordingly, the initiative by the DAPT on the novel idea of a combined coaching and officiating clinic in the Training Year 2024 is commendable.
“It is sequel to this, that I approved the conduct of this second edition.
“I am aware that, the clinic is aimed at building the capacity of army coaches and sportsmen in combat events on modern fighting and scoring techniques, which engender excellence in national and international combat sports competitions,” said Lagbaja.
He reiterated the commitment of President Bola Tinubu’s support to the Nigerian Army towards ensuring remarkable success in all its operations within the country.
The Acting Director, Directorate of Army Physical Training, Brig.-Gen. Abdulrahim Bello, said the essence of the clinic was to build more capacity that would invariably improve troops’ combat efficiency in the field.
Bello said the importance of training and adequate knowledge of combat was essential for success in sport activities.
According to him, “this clinic was organised to ensure the Nigerian Army coaches and athletes are given the required additional training in line with international best practice.
”It is expected that all participants of this clinic will make maximum use of this opportunity as the onus will rest on you to justify the trust and confidence reposed in you.”
He thanked the COAS for providing the required funds and enabling environment for the smooth conduct of the training.
Meanwhile, in an interview with NAN, the representative of COAS, Etsu-Ndagi, said training was critical to the operations of the Nigerian Army.
He said training in the army included training with equipment and weapons as well as training without weapons.
He noted that there could be occasions when the troops might have to fight it out with the adversary face to face, or eyeball to eyeball.
According to him, all combat sports training such as coaching and officiating clinic seek to enhance the capacity of the trainees to slug it out with the adversary, even if they don’t have their weapons with them.
”Sports is a physical activity and operation is also a physical activity. So, training in sports is a way you can actually build the stamina, endurance and fitness of trainees to be able to face combat.
”You will agree with me that through sporting events, personnel will be able to maintain the appropriate body mass index to engage in combat activities,” he said. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Deborah Coker/Salif Atojoko