The journey to becoming 2022 HiFL champions begins as thirty-eight teams in six groups battle for 12 spots in the next round of Nigeria's most prominent collegiate football competition.
More than 60 teams declared interest in participating in this year's edition of the HiFL but the teams that passed the accreditation stage are now set to take to the pitch to renew rivalries, reclaim bragging rights, and reach the threshold of collegiate glory.
The group stage fixtures will take place in five locations spread between the Sahel and Coastal zones of Nigeria. The semi-finalists of HiFL 2021; UNIMAID Desert Warriors, UNN Lions, AAUA Luminaries, and FUTMINNA Transformers have already secured spots in the round of 16 because of their last season's performance.
Group A will see a Kano state derby between BUK Stallions and YUSMUK Ravens on opening day, Wednesday, June 22. These two will also battle ATBU Bravehearts, UNIJOS Highlanders, and KASU Crocs for slots in the round of 16.The Bauchi-based University, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi will play host to Group A games.
Al-Hikmah University will debut in the HiFL this year and is set to battle KSU Steelers, IBBU Ranchers, UAM Tillers and 2022 NUGA champions, UNILORIN Warriors in Group B for a spot in the knock-out stages of the tournament. Group B games will hold at the Kogi State University Stadium, in Anyigba.
Matchday 1 will see a cracker in the Coastal region when LASU Blazers play UI Pioneers on opening day in Lagos. Group C will also feature the Ibadan derby between UI Pioneers and Lead City Gladiators, and other exciting fixtures. Hosts of the 2022 NUGA Games, UNILAG Marines will begin their 2022 HiFL journey against ABUAD stars in a Group D fixture on the 21st of June. OAU Giants, TASUED, EKSU, FUTA Tigers, and UNIOSUN complete the group.
UNIPORT take on FUTO in Group E’s opening fixture as the Sharks hope to build on their success at the NUGA games conducted earlier in the year. MOUE, AAUM, ESUT, and FUNAI complete the teams in that group. The UNIBEN Royals, DELSU, FUPPRE, Rivers State University, Nnamdi Azikwe University, and the University of Calabar make up Group F.
The Group stage of the 2022 HiFL will begin on the 21st of June and end on the 26th of the month. After which, a draw will be made to determine the fixtures of the round of 16.
HiFL; More than a game