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Erico enjoins youths to combine sports with education

Former Super Eagle Assitant Coach, Joe Erico

Former Super Eagle Assitant Coach, Joe Erico

Former Super Eagles Assistant Coach, Joe Erico, has joined the call for Nigerian youths to combine sports with academics, saying educated athletes find it easier to move to other means of livelihood on retirement.

Speaking at the National Stadium Lagos during a training session involving the 21 beneficiaries of the MTN Football Scholar programme, Erico said most retired Nigerian sportsmen found it hard to survive on retirement because they spent their youth in competition without planning for life outside sports.

The 21 selected by some of the best coaches in Nigeria would soon travel to the United States of America on a five-year scholarship sponsored by MTN in collaboration with Peculiar People Management (PPM). The programme affords the beneficiaries to study in American universities and at the same time be prepared as professional footballers.

Erico, who is one of the coaches, said the beneficiaries were selected from various centres located across the country, including Enugu, Akure, Abuja, Calabar and Port-Hacourt based on 60 per cent education and 40 per cent football.

He added that by virtue of their exposure to better training facilities, they could be easily absorbed into the national team after their programme.

Also speaking at the event, the Senior Vice President, Peculiar People Management (PPM), Kikelomo Atanda-Uchidiuno, who is also the Director, MTN Football Scholar, said the telecommunications outfit has giving the youths a future.

She revealed that success in SAT was one of the criteria used in fixing them in schools in the U.S., just as they were expected to be in the age bracket of between 14 and 17.

Atanda-Uchidiuno disclosed that the boys, who are currently on an awareness campaign, would go to the universities in Abuja, Enugu, FUTA and Unilag to interact and play matches, adding that every year, between 10 and 12 coaches from different states in America were brought to Nigeria to collaborate with Nigerian coaches on the project.

This, she aid, would give the boys the chance to join big clubs like Chelsea and Man United, among others.
One of the beneficiary, Adebare Oyeniyi, 20, from Osun State, who did his secondary education in Nigeria at International Sports Academy, Wasimi and is now in Skidmore College, New York, studying Business Administration and Economics, said the programme has moved him closer to his dream.

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