Dr. Abiodun Isiaka Salami, the immediate past University of Ibadan Director of Sports, has taken a swipe at the various educational policies in the country which have killed University students’ participation in sports.
The former Green Eagles winger who spoke at the weekend said participation in sports in the University is virtually dead, because of the jampacked academic curriculum that has made it impossible for students to effectively combine education with sports.
He said in the past, that many athletes especially footballers combined their academics with football, even playing for clubs and national teams. But, these days, you hardly see such because the University’s educational policies have made it extremely difficult for that to happen. Most of the University lecturers still believe that sportsmen are unserious people.
The University system no longer makes it possible for sports to thrive. Take for instance the University of Ibadan where I served for 32 years, our sporting edifices which were our centre of attraction have been destroyed. Our football pitch and cricket field which were one of the best in the country now have building structures on them. The supposed new sports center that was built in a very remote part of the University community, is not easily accessible to the students and has only a football pitch and a basketball court. No other sport exists there”.
Dr. Salami, however, advised young football players not to jettison their education while playing football, as their certificates may be their rallying point after football. According to him, “football surely has an expiry date. It can either be due to injuries or age or something that can make you stop abruptly. It is then that your certificates will be important. You will rely on that for the rest of your life”.
Dr. Abiodun Isiaka Salami abandoned his flourishing football career at then IICC Shooting Stars and Green Eagles team preparing for the 1980 AFCON to proceed to the University of Ibadan to pursue an academic career starting from a Diploma certificate to a Doctorate Degree in Sports and Administration.