Students reveal how they fared during the UEFA Champions League

By Jet Stanley Madu

The UEFA Champions League, the annual continental club football competition organised by the Union of European Football Associations and contested by top-division European clubs, ended recently, precisely on Saturday, June 3, 2017 but what impact did it have on the studies of our schoolchildren while the season lasted? That is the question The Sun Education tried to find the answer to from some of the students discovered to be ardent lovers of the championship.

Master Ugochukwu Onuegbu, 16, and an SS 2 student of Nodos International School, Ojo, Lagos, was at one of the viewing centres in Satellite Town, Lagos, to catch the excitement. For him, no team compares to Man U and he has the ace player, Rooney, as his best player.

He was bold to declare that, “I’m here to watch the match between Real Madrid and Juventus.” He revealed that he had not performed below expectation in his class academic assignments since he began watching football in JSS 1. He contends that it is wrong to believe that students don’t pass their exams due to devotion of their time to watching football matches. “Personally, I don’t think so,” he said. “For instance, till date, I have maintained between first and fifth positions. I usually do my assignment first before I watch the football match.”

But another respondent, Quadri Kazeem who is seeking admission into tertiary school, confessed that his love for the game almost marred his academic progress. “All I was doing then was to discuss football, predict match scores, trail which player would be sold or bought and who moved to where,” he said. I got addicted to the game. That was what actually got me into trouble. During matches, I would yell, insult a player who was careless. Many a time, I saw myself telling them, ‘Waka,’ as if the person was physically with me. That was when my mom warned me sternly that she would not have me watch the UEFA football match anymore. But what exactly prompted her to issue the warning was because I was beginning to forget to do my homework. The practice was to spend hours arguing over match outcome.

“But I knew she wouldn’t find out when she’s away that I did.  What I did was, if I have homework on a match day, I ’d quickly do my assignments as soon as I got home, before the match. Then, I would bribe my two younger siblings with biscuits and candies, not to disclose taht I watched a match. That was it.”

Like Onuegbu, Ige Lekan who recently wrote his exams claims that watching UEFA football competition does not distract him from facing his studies squarely. Neither does it affect his school assignments. “I don’t joke with my assignments,” he said.

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Mr. Fredrick Akan, a 400 level student of the University of Calabar, studying Political Science, and who claimed that his institution was on holiday, was among the many who watched the Juventus/Real Maldrid final. He believes that the growing interest of students in football particularly, European football, will make their studies suffer.

He said he had encountered one or two students whose love for the football almost wreaked havoc on their studies. “We do see them always watching, discussing and carrying soccer boots about on the campus and saying, ‘I want to go and play football’ and they neglect their studies. At the end of the day, when they see that they have failed some of their courses they retrace their footsteps. Some of them have football stars as role models and may have the ambition to become footballers in future and are looking up to their role models. So, the balance is not there”.

Akan believes that some of the football loving students may care less about their studies due to the fact that even some of the footballers themselves did not go to school. “I believe this can effect their studies very well because you can’t have both.” He was emphatic that his love for football does not in anyway interfere with his studies because he knows where to draw the line. “I’m not aspiring to become a footballer. I concentrate on my studies squarely.”

Mr. Kalejaiye Olugbenga John, Lecturer 1, Communication Studies, Lagos State University Ojo, and an ardent football lover confirmed that his son, Master David Kalejaiye, 11, JSS 2 student of The Apostolic Church Grammar School Junior, Lagos, loves watching the UEFA Championship but that has not stopped him from being a genius. “All the student football lovers learn some vital lessons watching the game,” he insists.

Monday Peters, a newspaper vendor plying his trade some distance away from Ojo Military Cantonment, Lagos, is one of those who hold that watching UEFA football matches does not constitute a distraction to students.

“Students come to buy sports papers,” he said. “I believe they read them. I don’t think their love for the game affects their studies negatively because it is part of knowledge. For instance, majority of the students who attend schools in this Ojo cantonment come here to buy papers. Sometimes their teachers may tell them to get newspaper and to comment on issues they read.”

The vendor said that there are long hours of heated arguments among the students over the UEFAfootball matches and they usually dwell on players like Messi, Ronaldo, Rooney and all the popular footballers.

“They discuss about some of the African players in those European Clubs –Premiership, La Liga,” he said. “The other talks that form topic for debate is about respective club coaches like the Real Madrid -Zenedine Zedane, Chelsea – conte., Man U Murinho, Man City – Pep Gadiola, Arsenal – Arsen Wenger, Beyarn Munich –Anceloti, etc.”