Following the resumption of sporting activities in the country, all is now set for the commencement of the 2021 season of the Higher Institution Football League (HiFL).
The league is set to commence in April with qualifying rounds involving over forty University teams alongside a host of other exciting activities.
Speaking at the International press conference on Thursday, the Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Ltd, Mr Sola Fijabi said preparations are in top gear to ensure that lovers of football in the country enjoy the best of collegiate football this season.
“The 2021 football games will commence in April with the qualifying rounds. 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” Fijabi said.
Other activities for the action-packed and exciting season will include the HiFL E-games, Masterclass series 2.0 and a host of other digital engagements.
“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.
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.
Speaking at the event, Head, Content and Partnership at PACE Sports, Mr Ikechukwu Nwaguru said that HiFL is attracting more partners locally and internationally even as the league hopes to expand its offerings.
“We sincerely appreciate our sponsors, StanbicIBTC for their continuous support. Also, the league recently signed a sponsorship deal with NIVEA Men and Minimie for the new season as we take the league to the next level. We are glad to have NIVEA Men join our growing family of partners and sponsors who are committed to developing the Nigerian youths and collegiate sports” Nwaguru said.
The qualifying rounds are 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. It would be recalled that physical games could not be held for HiFL due to the lockdown and extensive restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.