By Emma Jemegah
The 2022 edition of the Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) got off to a thrilling start on Tuesday with matches played across five centres.
HiFL is an initiative of Pace Sports Entertainment and Marketing Limited in collaboration with the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and sponsored by StanbicIBTC, Bold and the Lagos State Internal Revenue Services.
In the match played at the Lagos State University Sports Complex, the Lagos State University Football team, LASU Blazers played a 1-1 draw with the UI Pioneers from the University of Ibadan.
The UI Pioneers took an early lead and scored the opening goal through a penalty in the fourth minute after a rash challenge from one of the Blazers defenders. Ijimakinwa Oluwakayode of the Pioneers took the penalty and sent the Blazer’s keeping in the wrong direction.
The Blazers did not wait too long to equalize the game through a goal from Opeyemi Tokede in the 13th minute after a good run of pressure on the Pioneer’s defence. Tokede in jersey number 14 scored with a screamer from outside the 18-yard box.
The two teams were very balanced in the game as they showed impressive touches and created chances to have shots on target to signal their intentions to win the game.
Speaking after the game, Coach of LASU Blazers, Omosaiye Thompson thanked the organizers for the laudable initiative in helping to bring together students from different parts of the country and allowing them to showcase their talents every year.
Omosaiye enthused that “although we got a point from this game, with good home support and the quality preparation put in by my team, we expect to win our next game. We had many scoring chances that were not utilized. We will work that part of our game to progress into the round of 16.”
In his reaction, Coach of UI Pioneers, Eduviere Allen said he was impressed with the game’s outcome and praised his boys for playing to his instructuion. He promised to improve their performance to qualify for the next round as he maintained, “my team is here to make a statement.”