UAM Tillers, UNIMAID Warriors upbeat as HiFL draws hold tomorrow
Debutants EKSU, KASU aim for quarterfinals
Teams in the round of 16 of the ongoing 2022 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) season will know their opponents tomorrow when the draws hold at Protea Hotel, Lagos.
Recall that matches in the group stages, completed penultimate week, produced some new teams such as Ekiti State University and Kaduna State University in this stage of the competition.
Speaking ahead of the draws, Chief Strategy Officer at Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Goodness Onyejiaku, advised football fans to brace up for the best of collegiate football when the games begin.
“We have grouped the 16 teams into four pots; two for the Sahel and two for the Coastal. We are mindful of proximity for we have ensured that while we provide opportunity for competitiveness, our athletes are not unduly stressed so that they can deliver spectacular contests when they play their games.
“Of course, our sponsors, StanbicIBTC, Bold, and LIRS, have always backed us and we are proud of the partnership that we share,” Onyejiaku said.
The possibility of two former champions, UAM Tillers and the UNIMAID Warriors, meeting at this stage is high as both teams have been drawn into the Sahel zone.
Two other powerhouses in the league, DELSU Titans and UNIPORT Sharks, who are returning to this stage of the competition, are also hopeful of getting favourable draws that will catapult them into the quarterfinals.
Perennial semifinalists, until the last edition, UNILORIN Warriors, are also upbeat about plotting down any team that comes their way. Their chances of playing either KSU Steelers or FUTMinna Transformers are higher coming from the same zone.
Round of 16 debutants, Kaduna State University and Ekiti State University, are also showing no signs of worry, as the teams seek to explore their underdog status to their advantage against any team they are paired with.
Other teams in the round of 16 are last year’s Super Four finalists, AAUA Luminaries and UNN Lions, ATBU Bravehearts, BUK Stallions, FUOYE Dazzlers and the IAUE Minders.
“At this stage of the competition, the pitches get more heated as teams jostle to get to the quarter-finals. Looking at the pedigree of these teams, we are expecting a very close contest.
“However, we appeal to our dear students to show the spirit of sportsmanship at all times and ensure that they catch fun because it is all about the beautiful game of football, made available with the support of our esteemed sponsors,” said President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Emeka Ogbu.
Since its inception, three teams have won the HiFL league; UAM Tillers in 2018, UNICAL Malabites in 2019 and UNIMAID Desert Warriors in 2021.