All is now set for the second edition of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) which promises to be “bigger, better and bolder” according to organisers PACE Sports and Marketing Entertainment.
Speaking at a world press conference organised to unveil the programme for the second edition of the tournament which will kick off in March and run for 21 weeks, Director of PACE Sports and Marketing Entertainment Mr. Sola Fijabi said the second season will improve on the successes recorded in the maiden edition in 2018.
“The 2019 season promises so much excitement. We are accommodating more schools and expanding engagements across board,” Mr. Fijabi said. “We have concluded plans to take the Nigerian team made up of the best players from the 2018 season to Naples, Italy for the World University Games (FISU).
“We are proud of the role the league is playing in enhancing youth development in Nigeria. Already, two of the outstanding talents from the 2018 season are on the books of professional football teams in Nigeria. Our objective is to place collegiate sports in Nigeria on the same pedestal as their counterparts in other countries and build a strong ecosystem of young, home-grown football talents that may become invaluable for future national engagement.”
Also speaking at the event, President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto assured all stakeholders of the association’s commitment to ensuring that the HiFL 2019 season was a success.
“2019 is loaded with lot of sporting activities for NUGA. The NUGA Games is holding at the University of Lagos. The World University Games is taking place later this year in Italy. HiFL is also starting soon with more universities to be engaged.
“There is a new commitment among all parties to ensure a stellar outing in the competition. We are glad that the league has not only given a voice to the abundant football talents across the country, but also an instrument for socio-economic development,” Hamafyelto said.
The inaugural edition of the HiFL featured 16 schools with the UAM Tillers from the University of Agriculture, Makurdi winning the league after defeating the UNICAL Malabites from the University of Calabar 5-4 on penalties in the finals played at the Agege Stadium, Lagos.
Part of last season’s success stories include scholarships awarded to the winners by the management of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi as well as the launching of professional careers for two breakout stars of the tournament, Emma Ogbole and tournament MVP Ebuka David Odenigbo who both penned lucrative professional contracts with Nigerian Professional Football League (NPFL) sides Nasarawa United and Kano Pillars respectively.