In a bid to ensure smooth operations in officiating and organisation of the maiden Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) scheduled to hold across university campuses in Nigeria, Green White Green (GWG) Sports center, technical consultant for the league, at the weekend held a retreat for the officiating officials, assessors, commissioners and participating team coaches.
The retreat which was held in Abuja with the aim of building the capacity of the officials for smooth running of the league had in attendance 24 referees, eight assessors, 10 match commissioners and all the participating team coaches.
Speaking at the retreat, CEO of the Green White Green, Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara- Gombe, said the coming on stream of Higher Institution Football League as a good platform for students to exhibit their talents to the world is long overdue.
According to him, HIFL is aimed at filling the vacuum that has been in existence for while in the Nigerian sports landscape.
“Smaller countries that their population is not more than the population of Gombe State have University League Games,why is it that Nigeria with our population and number of Universities we cannot have University League Game?
“But I am happy we are finally kicking off the games. At the end of this maiden edition, we hope to have convinced our sponsors and indeed Nigerians that collegiate sport is ripe in Nigeria. Then, we may be thinking of expanding to other sports.
“The process of having football league in our University started two years ago when I wrote a proposal to the federal government on the need to support sports development in the University. Since we are so notorious to start from the grassroots, we should start from the middle.
We are faced with a motion-without-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,” he said.
He said the inaugural edition of the league scheduled to commence on August 1, 2018 would feature only 16 universities comprising of first 13 generation Universities and three universities that finished first, second and third respectively at the last NUGA Games.
The participating universities are University of Ibadan, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, University of Nigeria, Bayero University, University of Benin, University of Port-Harcourt, University of Jos, University of Uyo, University of Maiduguri, Usman Dan Fodiyo University and University of Ilorin.
HIFL was launched in February 2018 by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing as an international event in Lagos with aims to engender sports in Nigeria.
The inaugural scheduled to takes off August 1, 2018 would offer participating schools an opportunity to enjoy a first-hand experience of the first organised collegiate football league in Nigeria. HIFL is endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA). The winner of HIFL will represent Nigeria at the Interuniversity Sports Federation games.
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