UNIMAID Desert Warriors, AAUA Luminaries qualify for Hifl final
Futminna Transformers, UNN Lions Set For Third-Place Match
True to pundits’ predictions, the University of Maiduguri’s (UNIMAID) Desert Warriors and Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba’s (AAUA) Luminaries will play in the final match of the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) following their victories in the semifinals of the competition on Wednesday.
UNIMAID Warriors defeated Federal University of Technology Minna (FUTMinna) Transformers in the first semifinal of the competition, while AAUA Luminaries beat University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Lions in the second semifinal.
Playing at FUTMinna Sports Complex, the Transformers registered their first goal in the sixth minute through StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match, Ndah Noble. Noble added the second to complete his brace in the 70th minute.
However, as the Transformers pushed for the third goal needed to edge their opponent, tragedy struck in the 71st minute when the Desert Warriors scored a crucial away goal through Suleiman Saleh to put the aggregate scoreline at 2-2 meaning that the Transformers needed two more goals to qualify.
The match eventually became farfetched for the Transformers when they were caught off guard during an attack and allowed Ishola Ibrahim of the Desert Warriors to score a second goal in the 75th minute. Although Delubem Luke immediately scored the third goal for the Transformers in the 76th minute, it was too late for them.
In the second semifinal played at the Adekunle Ajasin University in Akungba (AAUA), the home team, AAUA Luminaries, held their nerves to play a goalless draw with visiting UNN Lions.
The Luminaries had played a 1-1 draw with the Lions in Nsukka, and thereby, qualified for the finals on the away goals rule.
The AAUA Luminaries made history as the first state-owned university to qualify for the HiFL finals since inception. The team ousted perennial Super Four qualifier OAU Giants and UNILAG Marines on their way to the finals.
UAM Tillers from the University of Agriculture Makurdi and UNICAL Malabites from the University of Calabar won the 2018 and 2019 editions of the league respectively.
Speaking on the games, the Chief Strategy Officer, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Goodness Onyejiaku, said, “we appreciate the support of StanbicIBTC, Nivea Men, Bold and Minimie for making it possible for these youths to showcase their talents. This year’s league has been played with a great spirit of sportsmanship and we are coasting home to play the Super Four. The four teams in this year’s edition are qualifying to play in the Super Four for the first time and that makes it more interesting.”