Unical battles University of Agriculture, Makurdi for HIFL trophy
All is now set for the final game of the Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL), also known as Universities League, which will hold today at the Agege Stadium Lagos. The match is between University of Calabar (Malabites) and the University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM Tillers). It will kick off by 3.00 p.m. today.
16 teams from across the country took part in this maiden edition of the league with Unical and UAM Makurdi proving to be the best of the lot. And today, the two schools will battle to decide the champion of the competition, which has drawn support from all the sectors of the society.
Speaking at a pre-final press conference, Chief Strategy Officer of Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing, owners of the league, Olamide Adeyemo said the organisation’s vision to develop football at the grassroots level through the country’s higher institutions has yielded good results since the tourney began this year.He praised Stanbic IBTC Bank and Tom Tom for sponsoring the football league, adding, “We are happy that after 28 games in the HIFL, finalists have emerged.
“The championship, which began with 16 teams, witnessed a high level of competition among teams devoid of poor officiating and machineries. This edition, which was keenly supported by NUGA and other relevant bodies, has opened doors for Nigerian students to show case their skills in football.“At the end of the final game, the champions will represent the country at the 2019 International University Sports Federation’s summer games in Naples Italy.
“Officials for the final game would be flown in from outside the country for fair officiating.”According to Adeyemo, due to the success of the HIFL maiden edition, 32 teams will now compete in the 2019 edition. He added: “The third place match of the competition will start by 11.00 a.m. Tickets are available for the matches, but students with identity cards are free to gain entrance to the venue.”
Also speaking at the press conference, Acting Head, Marketing Communications, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Margaret Oyefeso- Odunsami said the bank was delighted to invest in youths through sports, adding that the bank decided to key into the maiden edition of the HIFL to promote the game of football and also teach youths how to develop themselves financially.
She applauded the participating schools for displaying high level of sportsmanship throughout the league.Captain of University of Agriculture, Makurdi, Odenigbo Ebuka David, who is also the competition’s highest goal scorer, boasted that his team having come this far would emerge champions. His coach, Priscilla Vande, who is the only female coach in the HIFL, said she was ready to beat any formation Unical would employ in the game.But her counterpart from Unical, Egrinya Emmanuel countered that his team was ready to surmount any obstacle to come out victorious.
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