Unilag Marines host Uniben Royals as maiden HIFL League kicks off tomorrow
Unilag will enter the history books tomorrow when it hosts the first match of the maiden Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) at its sports centre located inside the school’s premises.
The match, featuring Unilag Marines against Uniben Royals, will kick off by 4.00 p.m.
Dubbed the star match of the opening week of the competition, the clash promises great excitement as top officials of NUGA, NUC and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), alongside renowned retired internationals and top football administrators prepare to grace the exciting duel.
The fixtures were released at the draws for the 2018 edition of the HIFL, which held in Lagos recently.
In another exciting fixture, two top universities in the country, University of Ibadan and Obafemi Awolowo University will lock horns in a battle of supremacy.
During the draws, the 16 institutions pioneering the league were paired into two zones, Sahel and Coastal, while the two zones were also split into two. Schools from the Northern part of the country will play in Sahel A and B, while those from the South will play against one another in Coastal A and B.
Chief Technical Director, Pace Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Olamide Adeyemo explained that the 16 participating teams were divided into the Coastal Conference (South) and the Sahel Conference (North) for reasons of proximity and effective administration.
In Sahel A, BUK Stallions will be up against UDU Sultans, while Unilorin Warriors and ABU Nobles will fight it out in the other game.
Sahel B will see ATBU Bravehearts playing against Jos Highlanders, with UNIMAID Desert Warriors and UAM Tillers battling for the other slot in the group.
Coastal A opens with the battle for supremacy between UNILAG Marines and UNIBEN Royals, while the UI Pioneers take on the OAU Giants.
The four games in Coastal B are UNN Lions versus UNICAL Malabites and UNIPORT Sharks against DELSU Titans.
Speaking during the draw, HIFL Technical Consultant and former NFF board member, Gara Gombe said it was a new dawn in university games as the competition opens a platform to improve on the game of football in the country.
“Despite the challenges we are facing in the country especially in our football, something good must come out of it and that’s the HiFL,” Gara-Gombe said.
“I have to say a big thank you to the management of NUGA and Nigeria Universities Commission for buying into our idea of having a league among universities in the country.
“This is an experimental league with 16 teams and by next year, we will expand it with zonal qualifications involving more schools in the country.”
The first legs of the games have been scheduled for August 1 and 8, while the second leg will take place on August 15 and 22 across the two zones, Sahel and Coastal.
In a bid to grow collegiate sports in Nigeria, HIFL was launched this year by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing as the first organised collegiate football league in the country.