Ochei Elijah Francis’ second half goal in 62nd minute handed University of Maiduguri their first Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) title after 1-0 victory over Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba in a highly charged final at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex at the weekend.
The UNIMAID Desert Warriors who were playing only their first final in the collegiate football league since 2018 held on to the slim advantage for the rest of the 90 minutes while AAUA Luminaries’ wait for a maiden title still lingers on.
The game set out in an attacking mood with the AAUA Luminaries pushing hard to score the first goal. However, the defence of the Desert Warriors led by Abdulrahaman Musa and Ochei David Michael thwarted every move by the attacking front line of the Luminaries led by Ologbon Emmanuel and Rotimi Ayomide to end the first half goalless.
On resumption in the second half, the Desert Warriors took the initiative and succeeded in the 62nd minute of the game when the team captain and StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match, Ochei Elijah Francis met a cross from the right to nod the ball past Isaac Phillip in the goal for the Luminaries.
The Luminaries turned on the heat on the Desert Warriors, but it was too late as the Borno Boys held their nerves to cross the 90th minute.
Speaking after the match, the Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Prof. Olugbenga Ige said; “despite the defeat, I feel elated because what is important is participation.
“We have participated and we have come this far. We have defeated several universities and we are the first state university to reach the final. So, for me, it is gratifying because one team must win. We have put up a very good showing and every spectator in the stadium today attested to that. That we came second is part of the victory. We thank HiFL for this opportunity and we hope our university do better next year.”
In his reaction, the coach of the UNIMAID Desert Warriors, Dauda ‘Ziko’ Daniel, explained that; “We had a very good preparation from the beginning of this competition, and we have been supported financially and morally by the school authority. This is the result of their support.”