Lead City Gladiators has emerged winner of the first ever Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) e-football tournament. Lead City Gladiators clinched the top-prize after defeating the FUTA Tigers on a 5 – 4 aggregate score. The final match of the HIFL e-football tournament ended in a draw with each team scoring one goal each. This necessitated going into penalties to determine the winner.
UI Pioneers won the bronze medal with a 2 – 0 win over DELSU Titans.
The HIFL e-football tournament is an offshoot of the HIFL created by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Ltd. The creation of the virtual tournament was necessitated by Covid-19 pandemic and in line with social distancing laws that prevent the physical gathering of a large number of people. The theme of the tournament was ‘Play Indoors for the World’ and the matches were streamed live on HIFL’s digital platforms.
The 5-day contest involved gaming representatives from eight Nigerian higher institutions competing as top La Liga teams on the EA SPORTS FIFA 20. The participating higher institutions were Lead City University as Atletico Madrid, Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) as Real Madrid, Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) as Villareal (VIL) and University of Lagos (UNILAG) as Valencia (VAL).
Others were University of Ibadan (UI), University of Benin (UNIBEN), Delta State University (DELSU) and Redeemers University Nigeria (RUN) as Atletico Bilbao (ATB), Sevilla (SEV), FC Barcelona (FCB) and Real Sociedad (RSD) respectively.
The knockout-style elimination tournament kicked off with FUTA Tigers and UI Pioneers winning the first of the Round of 8 proceedings against the ABUAD Stars and UNILAG Marines respectively. Lead City Gladiators also dominated the lock horns with UNIBEN Royals by 2 – 0 while DELSU Titans won 6 – 2 against RUN to book a spot in the Round of 4.
The HIFL is sponsored by Stanbic IBTC.
Speaking on the success of the e-invitational tournament, Bridget Oyefeso-Odusami, Head, Marketing and Communications, Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, commended the creation of the gaming tournament. She noted that Stanbic IBTC as an organisation remains committed to the development of the Nigerian youth and would continue to support youth-centric innovations, despite limitations posed by the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.