Brands Jostle For Sponsorship As The Maiden Edition Of HiFL Kicks Off
As the maiden Higher Institutions Football League kicks off, brands and businesses are pitching their tents with the league to connect with their youthful audience. No fewer than 16 schools are expected to take part in the 2018 edition of the collegiate football league in Nigeria starting from July 28, 2018 to November 3, 2018.
President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto who made the announcement in a statement recently, disclosed that the 16 schools are made up of 13 universities that were beneficiaries of the sports kits donation by the National Lottery Trust Fund and top three teams at the last NUGA games in 2017.
“Football lovers across the country can look forward to a very interesting competition. At the end of this edition, we hope to expand the number of participating schools, riding on the success of the maiden edition. HiFL’s format is brilliant with an even more interesting execution plan. It will complement the efforts of NUGA to bring back the good old days of competitive inter-school games with all the excitement therein. Although we are starting with football, which may be described as the pivot of Nigerian sports, we hope to spread to other sports later” Hamafyelto said.
In a bid to grow collegiate sports in Nigeria, Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) was, launched this year, by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, for football teams in higher institutions in Nigeria as the first organised collegiate football league in the country.
Scheduled to hold between July and October, the league will commence with universities, zoned into the Coastal Conference (South) and the Sahel Conference (North) for reasons of proximity and effective administration.
According to the Director, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Mr. Sola Fijabi, brands across Nigeria now have a better opportunity of connecting with a youthful and vibrant audience they ever wanted.
“Talking about connecting with the youths, brands cannot ask for more than what HIFL offers in terms of reaching a very wide audience. Already, the interest the games is generating among the brands is giving us great hopes of a successful campaign and we are encouraging all discerning brands to come on board” Fijabi said.
Participating schools from the Coastal conference include Delta State University Abraka, Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun, University of Benin,University of Calabar, University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, Akoka, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and University of Port Harcourt. For the Sahel conference, the institutions include Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Bayero University, Kano, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, University of Ilorin, University of Jos, University of Maiduguri and Usmanu Dan fodio University.
Speaking on the level of preparedness for the competition Fijabi said, “PACE is very ready to deliver the league in line with global best practices. In the coming weeks, we hope to provide the biggest youth engagement platform in the country in terms of reach and visibility. With HiFL, we hope toplace collegiate sports in Nigeria on the same pedestal with their counterparts in other countries that have recorded successes and build a strong ecosystem of young, home-grown football talents that may become invaluable for future national engagement”.
The technical consultant and Chief Executive Officer, Green-White-Green Sports Centre Limited Ahmed Shuaibu Gara Gombe promised that “during the league, arrangements have been made to have local and international networks of scouts, coaches and trainers watch the games to discover and groom outstanding students who wish to grow their careers in football. We are on the lookout for these exceptional talents and we are committed to providing them the needed support to help them grow in their career”.
HiFL is approved by the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and endorsed by the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF). The league is overseen by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Committee of Vice-Chancellors (CVC). The winner of HIFL will represent Nigeria at the 2019 International University Sports Federation games in Naples, Italy.