More than 40 teams are set to begin the race to win the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL), which title is currently domiciled at the University of Calabar (UNICAL).
Yesterday in Lagos, the organisers of the competition announced that the HIFL 2021 season would commence in April with qualifying rounds involving over 40 teams.
Speaking at the International press conference yesterday, the organisers, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Ltd, said preparations are in top gear to ensure that lovers of football in the country enjoy the best of collegiate football this season.
According to Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Ltd, Mr Sola Fijabi, “We have had a series of consultations with our partners, the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), sponsors and other relevant stakeholders across the board and we are glad to have come to a consensus that we can go ahead with the 2021 football season. We have also studied international football games and how they have been able to pull off the games despite the restrictions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. With this, we were optimistic that we have a strategy that will lead to a successful season.
“Beyond the physical games, we have other activities that will keep our fans engaged as we create value. Feedbacks on the Masterclass Series with StanbicIBTC for the 2020 season showed that we were able to build the capacity of a lot of young people that joined the webinars. The HiFL E-games, a virtual collegiate football tournament, was another innovation that ensured that our fans did not miss out on the lack of physical games for the 2020 season due to the lockdowns. We hope to sustain the momentum even as we resume play on the field,” Fijabi explained.
He explained, “The qualifying rounds would take place between April and May 2021. Draws for the round of 16 will take place in June and run through September. The HiFL Super Four Finals rounds off the season in September in Lagos.”
In his remark, the President, Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto, commended the organisers as he declared the readiness of the schools to host the games in line with COVID-19 protocols.
“We once again congratulate the organisers on finding new and inventive ways to connect both our students and the larger school community via innovative ideas in 2020 and remain optimistic of a more holistic engagement this year as schools all over resume academic activities”, Hamafyelto said.