06 January 2010

SLC stunting player development?

I was surprised to find out that one of the more promising talents at Morang Football Project has not been coming to practice for the last few months. He is under house arrest by his parents as the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams are fast approaching.

This is the case for nearly half-a-million Nepali teenagers a year. SLC exams mean total lock-down. No hobbies, no sports and even going to the toilet requires mom's permission.

While most interests can easily be pursued after SLC, elite sports is a different animal. A few months or years in the wilderness can severely hamper if not extinguish a players dream of becoming an elite athlete.

The current mindset that sports and studies cannot mix really needs to change. In the USA and many other "sports rich" countries the situation is quite the opposite - unless your parents are Asian of course. Youth are encouraged to participate in sports and other activities throughout the school year. Perform in a school play Friday night, basketball match Saturday afternoon and exams Monday morning. No sweat!