NUGA, HIFL sign pact to resuscitate Nigerian football through schools

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CEO, GWG Sports Centre Limited and Technical Consultant, Higher Institutions Sports League (HiSL), Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe (left); Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Sola Fijabi; Director, Students Support Services, National Universities Commission, Dr. Maryam Sali and President, Nigerian Universities Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto at the MoU signing and international press launch of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) in Lagos…yesterday. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU.

Soon Nigeria will start producing well-rounded footballers, who will not only represent the country more intelligently, but also have well-thought out post competition life. That is the aim of a programme launched yesterday by the Nigeria University Games Association (NUGA) in conjunction with a private sector outfit, Pace Sports Entertainment Limited.

The memorandum of understanding for the programme tagged, ‘Higher Institution Football League (HIFL),’ which will feature every Nigerian university registered with NUGA, was signed by both parties yesterday to kick-start the competition.

According to the organisers, the maiden edition of the project will hold between July 28 and October 27, 2018 in eight zones and for the period of 14 weeks, 30 matches will be played.

They disclosed that the universities have been divided into two groups, the Atlantic (South) and Savannah (North), for logistics reasons.

According to Head Strategy at Pace Sports Entertainment and marketing, Olamide Adeyemo, the competition will be on home and away basis while the final four matches will take place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos.

“We have been on this project for over one year and so we have held many meetings to look at all areas to make the event a huge success. We are committed to engage the students and use this platform to help in the development of sports facilities across the institutions in the country,” Adeyemo said.

NUGA President, Stephen Hamafyelto, expressed delight on the forthcoming competition, which he disclosed has the endorsement of the Nigeria Football Federation.
“We will always ensure the provision of sporting facilities as well as supervise and encourage the organization of sporting activities in Nigeria. We are ready to inspire students to be the next generation of leaders through excellence in sports and academics,” the NUGA boss said.

The Technical Partner of the Project, and chief Executive officer of Green White Green outfit, Alhaji Shuaibu Gara-Gombe, said the project will present a good platform for students to exhibit their talents to the world.

Gara-Gombe said: “The HIFL is aimed at filling a vacuum that has been existing for a while in the Nigerian sports landscape. We are faced with a motion and no movement situation because government is in front but we cannot continue like that in sports.

“Government cannot do everything. There is a big platform for the private sector in this initiative and this time we want to use this competition to make a big statement and set a standard.”