BY DUSTAN AGHEDO, Lagos
Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited (PSEM) and the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) have released the final list of the 16 varsity teams that will jostle for honours in the next stage of the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) season.
The last set of qualifying matches for this stage took place over the weekend across five zones involving 25 teams that made it to the group stage for the qualifiers.
Commenting on this season’s progress, the President of the Nigerian University Games Association, Prof Stephen Hamafyelto expressed his optimism noting that lovers of collegiate football in Nigeria are set to witness the best of games.
He said, “HiFL presents a great opportunity for Nigerian youths to express themselves and excel in sports as a career equal to their academic pursuits. We appreciate the organisation put in place by our member institutions because the news across the centres is very encouraging. We appreciate the participating schools for their sportsmanship and encourage everyone to just enjoy the spectacle.”
The final four of the last edition including defending champions, University of Calabar’s UNICAL Malabites; 2019 runner-up, UAM Tillers of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi; UNILORIN Warriors representing the University of Ilorin and OAU Giants from the Obafemi Awolowo University, will look to square it out against the other teams from the pre-league qualifiers, with the draws set to be announced soon.
The teams completing the round of 16 are KSU Steelers from Kogi State University, Anyigba, UNIMAD Desert Warriors from the University of Maiduguri, FUTMINNA Transformers of Federal University of Technology, Minna, ABU Nobles representing the Ahmadu Bello University and LAUTECH Hunters from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho.
Others include FUTA Tigers from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, UNIBEN Royals from the University of Benin, AAUA Luminaries of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, the UNN Lions side from University of Nigeria, IAUE Minders representing the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education in Port Harcourt, BUK Stallions representing Bayero University, Kano, and University of Lagos’ UNILAG Marines who qualified by virtue of a best loser.