*UNN Lions retain third place bronze for the second year
History was made on Saturday as KSU Steelers from Kogi State University Ayangba became the first state-owned university to win the prestigious Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL).
In a thrilling match played at the Yaba College of Technology Sports Complex, KSU Steelers fought back from a goal down to defeat the FOUYE Dazzlers from the Federal University Oye Ekiti 3-1 in the final of the HiFL 2022 season.
The match had barely started when a Dazzlers striker was hacked down by one of the Steelers defenders. Kolawole Oladapo converted the resulting penalty kick to put the Dazzlers ahead.
However, geared on by the presence of their Vice-Chancellor Prof. Marietu Ohunene Tenube, KSU Steelers equalised through Samuel Odutola in the 3rd minute while the fans of the Dazzlers were still celebrating their lead. The first half ended 1-1.
The second half started on a fiery note as both teams cancelled themselves out until mid-way into the second half when Mohammed Suleiman, the captain of the Steelers and StanbicIBTC Man-of-the-match scored the second goal for the Steelers. Anuba Ojochenemi finally put a stop to the quest of the Dazzlers when he scored the third goal.
Earlier in the third-place match, UNN Lions from the University of Nigeria Nsukka secured the slot which they won last year by defeating the UNILORIN Warriors 1-0.
The Lions’ goal was scored by Chukwu Echere Lawrence.
Speaking after the match, the Chairman, Board of HiFL Dr Kachi Onubogu saluted the courage of the players while exalting the support from the authorities of the participating schools.
“We can all see the influence of the support we get from our dear sponsors such as StanbicIBTC, Lagos State Internal Revenue Services, Bold and Indomie. The authorities and players of the participating schools have also shown great desire as we witnessed the presence of the Kogi State University Vice Chancellor at the finals. Last year we also had the Vice-Chancellor of the Adekunle Ajasin University watch the finals live”.
He added that “now is the time to push for more in terms of the attention paid to collegiate sports, particularly football. The Higher Institutions Football League has provided a creditable platform for government, school authorities, players and indeed discerning sponsors who are keen on registering their footprint on the sand of time regarding their contributions to youth development in Nigeria”.
Vice-Chancellor of Kogi State University Prof Tenube in her reaction thanked Pace Sports and Marketing and the Nigerian University Games Association for providing a platform such as this for the students. Despite the ongoing ASUU strike which affected this year’s league to some extent, Prof Dosu Malomo who represented the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Oye Ekiti said the organisers have done well to bring the 2022 league to such a thrilling conclusion.
With this victory, KSU Steelers became the first team to score more than one goal in the HiFL finals while UNN Lions became the first team to win two consecutive third-place matches in the HiFL Super Four. The goal by Kolawole Dolapo of the FOUYE Dazzlers in the first minute became the fastest goal in the HiFL final as the finals also went into history as the game with the highest number of goals scored in regulation time with a total of four goals.