The Oyo State Chapter of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), has urged the federal government to insist on scholarship for the Falconets.
The government had on the arrival of the silver-winning team at the just-concluded female U-20 World Cup in Germany on Aug. 2, rewarded them with university scholarships.
But the players seemed not comfortable with this, preferring monetary and material rewards.
SWAN Chairman, Salem Akindele-Rock, made the call on Friday in Ibadan while reacting to the action of the Falconets.
“The undue monetisation of our reward system has, over the years, eroded the value system of athletes, hence the lack of patriotism being experienced by the moneybags among them,’’ Akindele-Rock said.
He described the decision of the federal government to award scholarships to members of the team as a laudable initiative that could check age cheating in cadet competitions.
Akindele-Rock said that since majority of them claimed to be between 16 and 18-years-old, it was alarming that they shunned scholarship opportunities to improve their lot.
“For people who claimed to be teenagers to say that over 90 per cent of them were out of school means that female football in Nigeria is either for drop-outs or overage players.
“The nation should stop giving fish to athletes who performed well but should teach them to fish through education so as to remain productive after their active years in sports,” he said.
The chairman, however, observed that being the first African team to make it to the final of any FIFA organised female competition, they needed to be encouraged beyond scholarships.
“The government can go beyond scholarship awards by providing them with further assets like shares or landed property.
“Other Nigerians should follow through sundry rewards which can include cash,” he added.
He urged athletes to think of their sustenance after their career and empower themselves academically, rather than looking at immediate rewards.