The maiden champion of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) UAM Tillers from the University of Makurdi has qualified for the round of 16 of the 2022 HiFL season. The Tillers will be joined by 2019 and 2021 quarter finalist UNILORIN Warriors from the University of Ilorin and the LASU Blazers from the Lagos State University.
DELSU Titans from the Delta State University and UNIPORT Sharks from the University of Port Harcourt will be staging a comeback after missing out from the round of 16 since their first appearance in 2018.
Speaking on the games, the Chief Operating Officer at Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Goodness Onyejiaku said all the qualified schools have demonstrated their commitment to growing the league despite the challenges.
“We are pleased that HiFL has now broken a few records for the calibre of players the league is putting forth. Scouts from all across the nation are now watching games more closely to spot talent, especially for kids who have decided to pursue a career in football. We truly appreciate the support of our sponsors, particularly StanbicIBTC, Bold and the Lagos State Inland Revenue Services. We are also quite pleased with our partner, the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) which has ensured that we get the games going” Onyejiaku said.
Meanwhile, Kaduna State University and Ekiti State University will be playing in the round of 16 for the first time since they started participating in the competition.
According to the rules of the competition, the 12 teams that qualified from the group stage will join the Super Four teams from the 2021 edition. The four teams are the 2021 champion the UNIMAID Desert Warriors from the University of Maiduguri, AAUA Luminaries from the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoka, and UNN Lions from the University of Nigeria Nsukka and the FUTMINNA Transformers from the Federal University of Technology Minna.
The remaining teams that will play in the round of 16 are the ATBU Bravehearts from Abubarkar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, BUK Stallions from Bayero University Kano, KSU Steelers from Kogi State University, FUOYE Dazzlers from the Federal University Oye Ekiti and the IAUE Minders from the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Port Harcourt.
Emeka Ogbu, President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), stated that the HiFL is “full of surprises” and that fans should prepare to watch more thrilling matches because this season, amazing talent is emerging on our campuses. We appreciate all of our sponsors for supporting this big project and the good sportsmanship of the participating colleges. Even as they conveniently combine sports and academies with the backing of the university management, NUGA and HiFL are committed to their mandate of offering sporting chances for students in Nigerian universities to thrive. We are pleased with the achievements made in this area”.