Last year’s finalists, UNIMAID Desert Warriors, AAUA LUMINARIES risk early exit
Defending champion and first runner-up of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL), UNIMAID Desert Warriors and AAUA Luminaries, may not qualify for the quarterfinals of this year’s competition except if they upturn the results from their first leg games.
The HiFL organised by PACE Sports, NUGA and supported by StanbicIBTC, Bold, LIRS and Indomie Noodles, has reached a climax as teams jostle to qualify for the quarterfinals and the Super Four with the second leg of the round of 16 games starting today.
UNIMAID Desert Warriors, who were held to a 1-1 draw by BUK Stallions in Maiduguri, must win or get at least a 2-2 draw in Kano to qualify for the next round. However, Coach Isiyaku Ibrahim of the Stallions has promised to upstage the champions because “it is our turn to lift the HiFL trophy.
“Every team that has defeated us at this level has gone ahead to win the league, but now it is our turn to beat our opponent at this stage and go ahead to win the league, hopefully. We have done everything technically and tactically for the game and we sincerely hope that we get a good result,” he said.
AAUA Luminaries from Akungba have a mountain to climb when they face LASU Blazers in Lagos. The Luminaries must overturn their 2-0 home loss to stand any chance. Coach Joseph Abuo of the Luminaries has assured that “we have worked on every area of the game where we needed to improve based on our first leg game. My boys are motivated because I have told them that this is a must-win match for us.”
But, for Coach Bamidele Omosaye of LASU Blazers, the deal must be completed today.
“I have told my boys to continue from where we stopped at Akungba. We are optimistic and we want to consolidate on our win to qualify for the quarter-finals. Our school administration and students have been very supportive and we promise that we will do our best not to disappoint them.”
The oriental derby at the University of Port Harcourt will be no less important as HiFL 2021 third place team, UNN Lions, hope to consolidate on their 4-2 home win to qualify for the next round when they face UNIPORT Sharks.
“I have spoken to my boys to avoid overconfidence because if UNIPORT could score two goals away, it means that they can also score at home. But we will also try to score in Port Harcourt to stand a good chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals,” said Coach Ike Chijioke.
In Kogi, it will also be a fight to finish between KSU Steelers and FUTMINNA Transformers from Minna. The first leg of their encounter ended 2-2 and the Steelers are counting on home advantage to qualify for the next round.
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