After months of deliberations regarding the planning and execution of Higher Institutions Sports League (HiSL), a novel sporting innovation for higher institutions in Nigeria created and managed by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing (PSEM) in a private-public partnership with Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA), Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 played host to history at Radisson Blu Hotel Ikeja GRA as both parties signed a bipartite agreement in form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
In an event attended by the biggest names from sports, academia, regulators and private sector bigwigs, Mr Sola Fijabi (Director, PSEM) and Prof. Stephen S. Hamafyelto (President, NUGA) committed to the agreement in the auspicious presence of two distinguished luminaries including Alhaji Ahmed Shuaibu Gara-Gombe, renowned football administrator, stakeholder and technical consultant to Higher Institutions Sports League (HiSL) and Dr Maryam Sali, Director – Student Support Services at the National Universities Commission.
The scope of the MoU allows HiSL to organize competitions for universities across five popular sporting disciplines including Football, Basketball, Athletics, Volleyball and Handball. After signing the MoU, Mr Sola Fijabi outlined the rationale behind this ground-breaking project. In his words, “HiSL was designed to showcase the abundant talent that is domiciled in the tertiary space. It is a trusted method of promoting youth development in sports and the larger society that is already being practised in other countries,” he said.
In his remark, Prof. Stephen S. Hamafyelto promised the full support of NUGA in ensuring that the initiative is successful. He lauded the efforts of the creators in developing and designing the platform to further complement the efforts of NUGA in bringing back the gloried past of competitive inter-school games with all the excitement therein and also help in the all-round development of the youths.
The event also doubled as the press announcement of the inaugural franchise of the HiSL competitions namely Higher Institutions Football League (HiFL). This game-changing football league for universities will engage an initial 79 universities playing in Qualifying Rounds for the 16 spots up for grabs from the Savannah (North) and Atlantic (South) conferences. The final four teams from both conferences will then compete for the Trophy at the Teslim Balogun stadium in Lagos for glory, school pride, bragging rights and prizes with the winner billed to represent Nigeria at the International University Sports Federation games (FISU).
HiFL is scheduled for the 28th July to 27th October 2018 and has been endorsed by Mr Amaju Pinnick, the President of Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).