StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match Christian Ujah of UNICAL Malabites (17) dribbling past Obosa Enabulele (15) of UNIBEN Royals during the second leg tie in Calabar.


…defending champions, UNICAL Malabites out

Current champion of the Higher Institutions Football Leagues (HiFL) UNICAL Malabites have been knocked out of this year’s competition by UNIBEN Royals despite winning their home game played at the Abraham Ordia Stadium at the University of Calabar. The Malabites needed two goals to edge the Royals and cancel the deficit from their 4-2 loss during the first leg in Benin.

The Malabites showed their intentions to win the game from the blast of the whistle through series of attacks on the Royals. Uloko Simon eventually gave the Malabites the lead in the 45th minute setting the stage for a thrilling second half. Despite the second half onslaught, the Royals defended tenaciously to keep the Malabites strikers at bay to end the match at 1-0. The Royals thus qualified on a 4-3 goals aggregate. Ujah Christian of the Malabites won the StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-Match Award.

In Minna, the FUTMINNA Transformers Abubakar Mahmud got a brace for the Transformers in the 22nd and 41st minutes while Nda Ogubile scored in the 37th minute. To open up a three goal lead in the first half against LAUTECH Hunters. The Hunters almost produced an upset when Owoade Joseph and Aremo Mathew scored in the 46th and 81st minutes respectively but they failed to find the third goal that was needed for the to qualify on the away goals rule since the first leg ended goalless in Ogbomosho.The match ended 3-2 in favour of the transformers.

Speaking after the game, the Head Coach of the Transformers, Ahmed Usman Bosso acknowledged the efforts of his players and promised to work on the team’s deficiencies as exposed in the game. “From the beginning of the game, I felt bad, at the middle I felt happy and that was when we scored the three goals before the end of the first half. However, throughout the second half I felt bad…Unfortunately, we have many causalities now…many of the changes I made in the second half were due to these causalities. I am going to work closely with the team doctors to ensure that all the cases are well handled and treated before our quarter final games.”

UNIBEN Royals' Dirisu Oghenafarme (5) driblling past UNICALS's Ekwechi JohnBosco during their second leg tie in Calabar.

In other matches, AAUA Lumanaries played a 1-1 draw against the OAU Giants to qualify on the away goals rule. The first leg played at OAU ended in a nil draw. In Maiduguri, UNIMAID Desert Warriors defeated BUK Stallions 3-2 to qualify on a 5-3 goals aggregate.

In his reaction after the games, Chief Strategy Officer at Pace Sports, Mr. Goodness Onyejiaku said “This fine display of sportsmanship gladdens our hearts. Again, our sponsors, StanbicIBTC, Nivea Men, Minimie and Bold have continued to demonstrate their love for youth development in Nigeria through their support for HiFL. While they pursue academic excellence, these youths have an opportunity to explore other talents thereby providing them with an array of choices as they grow into becoming the better persons they crave”.

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