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Higher institutions football league comes on stream


Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe (left); Mr. Sola Fijabi, Dr. Maryam Sali and Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto, at the MoU signing for the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL) held in Lagos. PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU.

Determined to help grow collegiate sports in Nigeria, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing has launched the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL®) for football teams in higher institutions in Nigeria. This will be the first organised collegiate football league in Nigeria.

The maiden HiFL® games are scheduled to hold from July 28, 2018 to October 27, 2018. The league will commence with universities, which has been zoned into the Atlantic Conference (South) and the Savannah Conference (North) for reasons of proximity and effective administration.

According to the Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Mr. Sola Fijabi, HiFL® has been designed for the purpose of youth development in Nigeria through sports. It will also place collegiate sports in Nigeria on the same pedestal as their counterparts in other countries that have recorded successes and build a strong ecosystem of young, homegrown football talents that may become invaluable for future national engagement.

“The project is designed to engage and showcase exciting sporting talents from tertiary institutions in Nigeria. HiFL® is a part of a bigger body, which is the HiSL -Higher Institutions Sports League. The quest to establish this platform was borne out of the great desire to engage Nigerian youth. Currently, a significant number of this set of youth is in the universities spread across the country; these talents must be identified and nurtured for sustainability,” Fijabi said.

In his remark, the President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto expressed his delight about the initiative and promised the support of the body.

“This initiative is long overdue; we need to engage our youths to better focus on their all-round development. HiFL®’s format is brilliant with an even more interesting execution plan. HiFL® will complement the efforts of NUGA to bring back the good old days of competitive inter-school games with all the excitement therein. Interestingly, we are starting with football, which may be described as the pivot of Nigerian sports in an arrangement that we hope will spread to other sports later,” Hamafyelto said.

Director, Student Support Services, National Universities Commission, Dr Maryam Sali, added, “the passion that football generates is overwhelming and the youths in Nigeria have found a common ground in the excitement that the sport provides.”

In his goodwill message, the President of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) Mr. Amaju Pinnick lauded the initiative, saying, “HiFL is a noble and maiden project that we are looking forward to it becoming an annual event”.

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