Coaches talk tough ahead of HiFL super four finals

Coaches of the participating teams of the 2021 Super Four finals in the ongoing Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL) have promised football lovers exciting games as they challenge each other for the coveted trophy.

The HiFL Super Four Finals will take place at Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex on Saturday, October 9.

Reacting to questions from journalists, Coach Daniel Dauda of the UNIMAID Desert Warriors maintained that his team would become the new champion as he hopes to outplay the AAUA Luminaries from the Adekunle Ajasin University from Akungba.

“In the semi-finals, we noticed that the FUTMinna team was a very defensive side. So going into the second leg, we decided to increase the number of strikers to put pressure on their defenders and open up their defence. That was how we were able to score the two goals” Dauda explained.

Against the Luminaries, who are the least goal conceding team, Dauda maintained, “we will play our normal game which is attacking football and that would be our strategy”.

Meanwhile, Coach of AAUA Luminaries, Joseph Abuo, said his team is set to create an upset in the finals playing against UNIMAID Desert Warriors, the highest goal-scoring team in the league from the round of 16. “I am glad that my team was able to make it to the finals of HiFL on our first attempt. Our qualification for the final did not happen by circumstance because I have told my boys that we should avoid conceding goals” Abuo said.

He added, “Desert Warriors were scoring against teams in their zone, but with my team, it will be a different game. From our game plan and our antecedent in this league, scoring against us would be an uphill task for any team. If we cannot score against you, then you cannot score against us too. I have watched the videotapes of their games and I have seen their pattern of play. As a Manager, I know how to manage them, but I am not seeing them scoring against my team. Therefore, the fact that the UNIMAID team is a high scoring side is not a threat to us at all because we are confident about winning and becoming the champion this year”.

UAM Tillers from the University of Markurdi won the maiden edition of HiFL in 2018 while the UNICAL Malabites from the University of Calabar won the 2019 edition.

This year’s final presents a contrasting fortune for the two finalists regarding their goal-scoring prowess. UNIMAID Desert Warriors heads into the finals as the highest-scoring team from the Round of 16 with 11 goals while AAUA Luminaries, qualified for the finals having scored only three goals from the knockout stages. The Akungba boys made history as the first state-owned university to qualify for the Super Four and to play in the final of HiFL since 2018.

The four teams in the 2021 Super Four have scored 24 goals among them from the Round of 16 with Suleiman Saleh of the UNIMAID Desert Warriors as the highest goal scorer with four goals.

In his reaction, Beiersdorf’s Managing Director, Nigeria, Godwin Harrison said “Nivea Men is happy to witness these fantastic displays from our youths riding on the platform of the Higher Institution Football League. The dedication and determination of these players to succeed in their games align with our goal of connecting with Nigerian youths and providing them with platforms to express themselves while they also study. As we look forward to the Super Four games, we congratulate the teams that will play in the finals”.

Supported by StanbicIBTC, Nivea Men, Bold and Minimie, HiFL is Nigeria foremost collegiate football league that is now in its third season.

Chief Strategy Officer, PACE Sports, and Entertainment Marketing Limited, Goodness Onyejiaku also mentioned “our sponsors including StanbicIBTC, Nivea Men, Bold and Minimie have demonstrated corporate responsibility by their association with the HiFL brand to connect and provide opportunities for Nigerian youths to develop their talents even while they study. It can only get better as we all look forward to an interesting final”.

It would be recalled that UNIMAID Desert Warriors ousted the winner of the maiden edition of the competition; UAM Tillers on 3-1 goals aggregate at the quarter-final stage and qualified for the final by defeating FUTMinna Transformers 3-3 on aggregate. AAUA Luminaries qualified by defeating UNN Lions 1-1 on aggregate with both sides going through on away goal rule.

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