UNIMAID Desert Warriors Coach Paul Ciroma has blamed the ongoing Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike for his team 1-1 draw against BUK Stallions in the first leg of the 2022 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) Round of 16 games in Maiduguri.
“Only three players from last year made it to this present team of UNIMAID. About 90% of those that played last year are not currently part of the team due to one reason or the other.”
A stunning 84th-minute goal by Sanusi Imam Chindo helped BUK Stallions to pull off a 1-1 draw against the 2021 HiFL Champions, UNIMAID Desert Warriors.
The visitors who displayed grit and determination throughout the game had earlier expressed confidence to oust the defending champions from the tournament.
Usman Sani Abubakar had put UNIMAID Desert Warriors ahead in the 16th minute after a fine build-up play. However, BUK Stallions’ equalizer meant that the defending champion will now have to be exceptional in their second leg match in Kano to avoid elimination at this stage of the HiFL competition.
Coach Ciroma however assured fans that UNIMAID Desert Warriors will put up a better performance in the second when they play away to BUK Stallions.
“I just want to make it very clear to BUK Stallions that it is not over and we will do much better than what we did in the first leg.”
On officiating, Ciroma said “the game was well officiated and we both exercise a high level of discipline throughout the game”
Head Coach of BUK Stallions Ibrahim Isyaku Ibrahim also agreed that “the match was good but when you play a defending champion, they will be all out to defend their title. Before the start of the game, we had looked forward to just gaining a point since we were playing away and we have achieved that. When they come for the return leg, we will finish with them.”
Ibrahim assured that his team “will break the jinx of getting ousted out of the league at the round of 16 every season since inception”.
In other matches, LASU Blazers defeated 2021 finalist AAUA Luminaries from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akunbga. FUTMINNA Transformers played a 2-2 draw with KSU Steelers from Kogi State University while UNN Lions which finished in the third-place last year defeated UNIPORT Sharks by 4-2 in Nsukka.