The University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) Desert Warriors at the weekend proved pundits right as they defeated Adekunle Ajasin University to win the 2021 Higher Institutions Football League.
At the thrilling final played at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex, UNIMAID Desert Warriors defeated Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba, (AAUA) Luminaries 1-0 to win the competition.
The game set out on a furious note with AAUA Luminaries pushing hard to score the first goal, but they met stiff opposition from UNIMAID defenders, led by Abdulrahaman Musa and Ochei David Michael. The first half ended goalless.
On resumption for the second half, the Desert Warriors took the initiative and got their winning goal in the 62nd minute through a powerful header by team captain and Stanbic IBTC Man-of-the-Match, Ochei Elijah Francis, which beat AAUA’s goalkeeper, Isaac Phillip.
Speaking after the match, Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Prof. Olugbenga Ige, said: “Despite the defeat, I feel elated because what is important is participation. We have participated and we have come this far. We have defeated several universities and we are the first state university to reach the final. So, for me, it is gratifying because one team must win.
“We have put up a very good showing and every spectator in the stadium today attested to that. That we came second is part of the victory. We thank HiFL for this opportunity and we hope our university do better next year.”
In his reaction, UNIMAID Desert Warriors Coach, Dauda ‘Ziko’ Daniel, explained: “We had a very good preparation from the beginning of this competition, and we have been supported financially and morally by the school authority.
“This is the result of their support. At some point, my players, most of who are visiting Lagos for the first time, were jittery. However, I pointed at the trophy and told them that that is the sign of glory for them if only they can hold their nerves and win the match. It was difficult but we thank God.”
Also speaking after the game, Chief Strategy Officer, PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing, Goodness Onyejiaku, said, “we appreciate StanbicIBTC, Nivea Men, Bold and Minimie and the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) for their support. We have all enjoyed this season and look forward to a more interesting HiFL in 2022.”