Why Varsities Don’t Contribute to National Teams – UNILAG

Sports administrators at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) attribute universities’ inability to turnout athletes who could substantially become members of future national teams to lack of correlation between some sports and education policies.

They made the assertion in separate interviews on Monday in Lagos.

According to UNILAG’s Director of sports, Cecilia Arinye, it is necessary that the sports programmes of government should not be at variance with the academic calendars of universities.

“Many universities gain popularity through the exploits of their sportsmen and women.

“These universities even give admission to many students because of their abilities and skills in certain sports.

“Universities too do not ensure that they do not make their sportsmen and women’s academics to clash with sports events organised by the government,’’ she said.

She noted that some of the Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA) competitions had been held while many universities were scheduled to begin their semester examinations.

Arinye said that undergraduates on sports scholarships were bound to shun their training when their examination clashed with any tournament.

For Emmanuel Okolo, Basketball Coach of UNILAG, the enabling environment does not exist for graduates to continue in sports they represented their institutions in after their graduation.

“Basketball, handball, volleyball and track and field events are very pronounced sports in all our universities.

“And these sport events are not giving us much at the national level in terms of medals.

“The likelihood is high that if we develop these sports in our universities very well, such a policy drive will have positive impact on the leagues of these games.

“Such policy direction will eventually also have a constructive impact on these sports’ national team output,’’ Okolo said.

UNILAG’s Volleyball Coach, James Aina, said that universities ought to enforce policies on lecturers to give certain considerations to undergraduates actively involved in the institution’s sports.

“We have been treating many cases of students who missed their examinations due to their sports exploits for their institutions.

“Ordinarily, one will expect that lecturers will give preference to students that missed their test or examination because they were representing the university in games around the same time.

“But I can tell you that many lecturers are adamant to give any consideration to undergraduates involved in sports and sometimes accuse them of being unserious with their academics,’’ he said. (NAN)

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Olusegun Fapohunda
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