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Nigeria needs more tertiary institutions competitions to unearth new talents, says Kanu

By Alex Monye
12 October 2021   |   4:04 am
Former Super Eagles’ Captain, Nwankwo Kanu, believes that the just-concluded Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) will help Nigeria to unearth talented young footballers from the academic environment.

[FILES] Former Nigerian footballer Nwankwo Kanu (Photo by Khaled DESOUKI / AFP)

• HiFL champions, UNIMAID, declare lecture free day 
Former Super Eagles’ Captain, Nwankwo Kanu, believes that the just-concluded Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) will help Nigeria to unearth talented young footballers from the academic environment.

He also said nurturing players from the grassroots will make it easier to produce tactically aware footballers, who could easily blend when recruited by big clubs.

Speaking at an award ceremony held in honour of sponsors and players, who participated in the HiFL at the weekend in Lagos, Kanu said Nigeria needs to take grassroots development serious to ensure it produces enough talents to represent the country at all levels of the national teams in future.

“The organisers of the HiFL have created a platform for football talents in higher institutions to display their talents and be discovered by scouts and clubs.

“Nigeria needs more grassroots football programmes to encourage youths to hone their skills.

“I will, in my own capacity, continue to encourage players to be dedicated to their education when aspiring to be big stars because educated footballers get better opportunities from the game. I commend the organisers for their consistency in putting up the third edition of the HiFL because it will help the country to discover new talents from the participating schools,” he said.

The awards ceremony, which attracted football personalities and representatives of corporate Nigeria, saw Suleiman Ali Saleh of UNIMAID winning the HiFL Elite Player of the Season award, while Isaac Philip of AAUA Luminaries won the HIFL Elite Goalkeeper of the Season award.

The HiFL Elite Highest Goal Scorer of the Season award went to Suleiman Ali Saleh (UNIMAID Desert Warriors); HiFL Elite Goal of the Season was awarded to Omotayo Adekinmoye (AAUA Luminaries); HiFL Elite Host of the Season award went to University of Ilorin, while HiFL Elite Coach of the Season award went to Coach Dauda ‘Ziko’ Daniel (UNIMAID Desert Warriors).

At the HiFL played in Lagos on Saturday, University of Maiduguri’s (UNIMAID) Desert Warriors defeated Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba (AAUA) 2-0 to win the championship.

Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMinna) won the bronze medal by defeating University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) in the third place game.

To celebrate their victory, University of Maiduguri, yesterday, declared a lecture free day to allow the students savour their school’s HiFL success.

According to reports, students of the school trooped to the Maiduguri airport to welcome the team back from Lagos.