L-R: Former Super Eagles midfielder Mutiu Adepoju flanked by Chief Executive Stanbic IBTC Sam Ocheho; La Liga delegate in Nigeria Guillermo Castello-Perez and Head of marketing PZ Cussons Consumer Charles Nnochiri at the 2019 HiFL Draw Ceremony in Lagos.
The 2019 edition of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) would kick off Jun 18 with matches across eight groups to be played over 21 weeks.
This much organiser announced following a successful draws ceremony held on Friday at the Oriental Hotel in Lagos where the new team jerseys and logos were unveiled.
The 32 teams that qualified for the group stage were draw into eight groups of four teams each starting from Group A- Group H from the Sahel and Coastal divisions.
Group A has UNILAG Marines, FUTA Tigers, EKSU Mountaineers, OAU Giants. while Group B has UI Pioneers, AAUA Luminaries, LCU Gladiators, LASU Blazers. In Group C, UNIUYO Tuskites, IAUE Minders, DELSU Titans, UNICAL Malabiites, will do battle to qualify for the round of 16. MOUAU Bloomers, RSU Dolphins, ESUT Explorers, NDU Oilers were ceded in Group D as Group E will feature UNIBEN Royals, FUOYE Dazzlers, FUNAI Hawks and UNIZIK Cardinals.
Teams in Group F include NILE Rovers, FUTMINNA Transformers, PLASU Boulders, UNILORIN Warriors. while Group G plays host to ABU Nobles, KUST Pyramid, ATBU Bravehearts, UNIMAID Dessert warriors. The last group, Group H will have BUK Stallions, NSUK Miners, BSU Weavers, UAM Tillers.
Games in group stages will be held across the eight host institutions that were automatically ceded for ease of games logistics and facilities. The first two teams from each group will automatically qualify for the round of 16 which would be played in a return leg elimination series before the Super Four grand finale to be held at the Agege Township Stadium in Lagos.
Meanwhile, Director of PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Sola Fijabi said the format was reviewed to enhance the league and create more excitement for its teeming fans.
“HiFL is a game changing initiative and it is heart-warming that the league has gained acceptance across higher institutions in Nigeria. We have reviewed the rules of the game in line with our experiences from last year and global trends in football and collegiate sports. We have done this in conjunction with our partner, the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and other technical partners. Our desire is to create a league that would be of pride to us as a company, the Nigerian universities and indeed our esteemed sponsors,” Fijabi said.
In his remark, the President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto enthused that NUGA is committed to ensuring a more successful outing taking key learnings from the past edition.