President of Nigeria University Games (NUGA), Prof Stephen Hamafyelto has a bigger picture for undergraduate football players.

The professor wants as many university students to be a professional player in the Nigerian top flight league.

NUGA is proud to be part of the Higher Institutions Football League, which maiden edition was concluded in 2018 with University of Agriculture, Makurdi emerging champions.

Captain of the UAM Tillers, Ebuka David Odenigbo emerged the top scorer with eight goals and has since been signed by Nigeria Professional Football League club, Kano Pillars.

Speaking in Lagos on Wednesday, Hamafyelto described Odenigbo’s move as a big achievement for the player and Hifl.

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“This partnership has brought a social net to track our students' progress.

“Nigeria coming up with a (university football) league is a big achievement for our universities because we are having many of our footballers coming to the NPFL and by so doing, they will be recognized by the Nigeria Football Federation.

“If we continue this, we are sure of seeing more professional football clubs coming to sign our (universities) players.”

Unlike the 2018 edition which accommodated 16 teams, the 2019 edition has been increased to 32 universities.

According to Chief Strategic Officer, PACE Sports and Entertainment, Olamide Adeyemo, over 70 schools will participate in the qualifying rounds and 32 universities will proceed to the group stages.

“The aim is to have about 66 games among the 32 universities across 24 cities to decide the winner.

The competition, that will start in April, will also run within 21 weeks and end in August.

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