Matches in the qualifying rounds of the ongoing Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) organised by PACE Sports ended over the weekend with the last set of qualified teams emerging.
Two teams from each Zone qualified automatically for the Round of 16 joining the four 2019 Super Four teams that are on standby.
In Zone A, the team from Kogi State University (KSU) turned out to be the surprise package toping the Zone with nine points with a plus five goals difference from four games pushing veterans UNIMAID to the second position on seven points.
In the final game between both teams, Muhammed Yahaya of KSU scored both goals for his team in the 12th and 80th minutes while UNIMAID’s Kachalla Maikadir scored the only goal for his team in the 17th minute to end the game 2-1 in favour of KSU.
FUTMINNA Transformers and ABU Nobles played out a goalless draw in Zone B to finish first and second respectively.
In Zone C where the teams were divided into two pots, LAUTECH and FUTA Tigers emerged the winners from each pot. Both teams finished on four points.
LASU Blazers, who are the host institution for the Zone, failed to qualify after losing their two games and ended with no point.
UNIBEN Royals showed class in Zone D to end up on 10 points with a plus four goals difference. Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) joined them as the second team to automatically qualify from the zone after defeating the NDU Oilers 2-1 in their last match and garnered six points.
Omotayo Oluwatobi scored a brace for AAUA in the 32nd and 73rd minutes before Endurance Ezekiel got the consolation goal for the Oilers in the 80th minute.
In Uyo, the IAUE Minders ended their campaign on a high with a 5-0 drubbing of the FUNAI Hawks to end on seven points in second place.
Goodness Johnson scored a brace for the Minders in the 22nd and 44th minute. Three goals from Paul Benedict in the 11th minute, Tennyson Eyee in the 57th minute and Koteh Nubaridoo in the 80th minute were enough to help the Minders scale through with an automatic ticket.
The UNN Lions led the zone with eight points after four matches.
Speaking on the qualifiers, the President of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) Prof. Stephen Hamafyelto said: “The final 16 teams are about ready and as the results have shown, HiFL is full is full of surprises and our fans should get set to watch more exciting matches as great talents are emerging this season on our campuses. We thank all our sponsors for believing in this great dream and the participating institutions for their sportsmanship. NUGA and HiFL are fully committed to their mandate of creating sporting opportunities for students in Nigerian universities to excel even as they conveniently marry sports and academy with the support of the university managements. We are proud of the successes recorded in this regard.”