From the kickoff of the Higher Institution Football League, all 16 teams participating in the league all hoped and gunned for the ultimate trophy. Amidst the Excitement, Fun, tears, suspense, teamwork, the teams all put in their best fight to bring their hopes of owning the trophy to life. However, some were not as strong or nimble as the others in navigating through the obstacles in their quest for the trophy. Some teams were kicked out by their opponents while others were just obliterated as the competition moved from preliminaries to the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals and now to the finals. Two teams, however, have stood up and stand head and shoulders above the rest as they fought their way up and are now few kicks away from claiming the maiden HiFL® Champions trophy.
Step forward UAM Tillers, defending NUGA champions, a loaded team that’s rarely had to exit second gear and when they did usually put three past their opponents in the slaughter house and another that have pulled off more great escapes than anyone in the tournament UNICAL Malabites. They will meet for the maiden HiFL’s Champions Trophy in a Brawl of Supremacy on Saturday, 3rd November, 2018 at the Agege Stadium.
UAM Tillers’ Story
The Tillers came into the competition with high expectations, especially after their victorious outing at the 2017 NUGA games on home soil. For the passionate supporters at home, nothing less than an appearance at the Agege on Saturday would’ve been acceptable. And they came through, taking apart all comers in pretty impressive fashion apart from the blip in the leg of the Semifinals against the OAU Giants. They have indeed lived up to the hype led by talismanic captain and competition’s highest goal scorer, Ebuka David proving his mettle with an outstanding 8 – goal haul more than half of the total goals scored by the team. With the lively Ebuka David smashing the competition’s records book with some memorable, highlight-reel moments, the Tillers have simply been too hot to handle for all opponents putting an impressive 3 past UNIMAID Desert Warriors, UNIJOS Highlanders and the OAU Giants in a tough knockout-round road.
Ebuka David Odenigbo – 8 goals (Competition’s leading scorer)
UNICAL Malabites’ Story
While UAM has never looked like it was in too much trouble, UNICAL seemed to be in trouble constantly. The Malabites were close to missing out on the quarter finals altogether, as they contrived to throw away a priceless narrow advantage in front of a packed house in Calabar. But they managed to sneak through, after their opponents UNN Lions refused to play penalties after the game. The talent is there, starting with the versatile, cerebral and relentless midfield maestro, Charles Ufot pulling the strings on his way to winning 2 MOTM gongs. And the Malabites have looked fantastic when they have clicked. But a combination of poor finishing and lack of coordination nearly cost them the in the knockout round as they narrowly survived their quarter and semifinal clashes.
Clearly, the Malabites have had to dig in more to eke out results more than the Tillers and have also been tested in a way UAM have not. If Malabites can clear one more hurdle, it’ll make history. Rekindling the glories of past Malabites who have consistently delivered in collegiate football. The Malabites last appearance in any semis was at the 2015 NUGA Games, which it lost to UNICAL. Come Saturday at the Agege stadium they have one more chance at redemption.
Charles Ufot – 2 MOTM gongs.
In other match of the day, the OAU Giants and UNILORIN Warriors will play in a game for name as they both look to claim the bronze medal. The best team on the day will have to put aside the disappointment of narrow semifinal losses for a chance on the podium.
All roads to the Agege Stadium. You don’t want to miss out!