In the opening fixture of the 2018 Higher Institutions Football League(HiFL), the Unilag Marines play against the Uniben Royals at the University of Lagos Sports Complex, Akoka, Lagos.
With the much anticipated league between Nigerian universities kicking-off on August 1, the opening fixture promises quality entertainment and an avenue to discover talent. In another tie, two top universities in the country, University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University, will lock horns with each other in a battle of supremacy.
The Fixtures were released at the draws for the 2018 edition of the Higher Institutions Football League, which held in Lagos recently.
During the draws the 16 institutions that will pioneer the league were paired into two zones, Sahel and Coastal, while the two zones were also split into two. Schools from the Northern part of the country will play in Sahel A and B while those from the South will play against one another in Coastal A and B.
Chief Technical Director, Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Olamide Adeyemo explained that the 16 participating teams were divided into the Coastal Conference (South) and the Sahel Conference (North) for reasons of proximity and effective administration.
In Sahel A, BUK Stallions will be up against UDU Sultans while Ilorin Warriors and ABU Nobles will fight it out in the other game. Sahel B will see ATBU Bravehearts playing against Jos Highlanders with UNIMAID Desert Warriors and UAM Tillers battling for the other slot in the group.
Coastal A opens with the battle for supremacy between UNILAG Marines and UNIBEN Royals while the UI Pioneers take on the OAU Giants.
The four games in Coastal B are UNN Lions versus UNICAL Malabites and UNIPORT Sharks against DELSU Titans.
HiFL is approved by the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The winner of league will represent Nigeria at the 2019 International University Sports Federation games in Naples, Italy.
Speaking during the draw, Technical Consultant, Higher Institutions Football league and former board member of the Nigeria Football Federation, Gara Gombe, said it was a new dawn in university games as the competition opens a platform to improve on the game of football in the country.
“Despite the challenges we are facing in the country especially in our football, something good must come out of it and that’s the HiFL,” Gara-Gombe said.
“I have to say a big thank you to the management of NUGA and Nigeria University Commission, for buying into our idea of having a league among universities in the country.
“This is an experimental league with 16 teams and by next year, we are going to expand it with zonal qualifications involving more schools in the country.”.
According to the former Gombe State FA chairman, the league organizers have put all machineries in place to have a successful league championship.
The first legs of the games have been scheduled for August 1 and 8 while the second leg will take place on August 15 and 22 across the two zones, Sahel and Coastal.
In a bid to grow collegiate sports in Nigeria, Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL®) was, launched this year, by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, for football teams in higher institutions in Nigeria as the first organised collegiate football league in the country.
It is overseen by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC). The winner of HIFL will represent Nigeria at the 2019 International University Sports Federation games in Naples, Italy.