The University of Ilorin football team (the Warriors) humiliated the Federal University Oye-Ekiti team (the Dazzlers) in the Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) with 5 goals to 1.
The Higher Institutions Football League (HIFL) is an annual football competition for higher institutions in Nigeria, sponsored and managed by PACE Sports and Entertainment Marketing Limited.
The League is open to all member universities of the Nigerian University Games Association (NUGA) and winners of the league are scheduled to represent Nigeria at the Summer Universiade of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) games.
FUOYE Dazzlers lost to Unilorin Warriors in a shocking 5 goals to 1 defeat in the first leg of the tournament, played on the 24th of July.
In order to understand the reason behind this defeat, UCJ FUOYE spoke some of the players and the coach of the FUOYE football team.
Philip Orege, a student present during the match, expressed his dissatisfaction at the outcome and blamed their misfortune on a lack of professionalism.
“We lack professionalism; lack adequate facilities, communicative skills and experience,” he said.
“Unilorin players played very well; the adequate facilities they possessed was shown in their performance.”
Another key player in the team, who pleaded anonymity, expressed his dissatisfaction with the match.
He noted that the outcome of the match was due to a lack of management’s support and some technical errors from their own end, errors they regret deeply.
“What I can only let you realise is that the preparation was on love for football and the commitment is based on our own personal careers too. We have been representing the school very well so far, despite their unfavourable attitudes and gestures to us but we did not look on those sides,” he said.
“We have played different matches and won, but it is just like that this time. We can not blame our loss on any FUOYE facilities because it has always been like a situation where we lack almost everything and God is always by our side. Students should have a strong believe and should shower us their support in the next match.”
“We prepared well for our game even when there were no allowances for the players. Majority of us, including myself, could not travel home for the break just to prepare for this match. The support pulled by Unilorin students yesterday really saddened my heart because the way they handled sports over there is not the same way it is in FUOYE. Their Vice-Chancellor was even present to watch their match,” he added.
He went on to appeal to the management to pay more attention to sports.
“I just hope the University will do better by paying a little more attention to sports in FUOYE. It is part of what universities teach students. Of course, the main purpose of teaching is to bring out the unique potentials in students to prepare them for a better future, which the personal skills they possess is [a] part of.”
He concluded by urging FUOYE students not to lose hope.
“We have been representing you well and we are still hoping that by the next leg, we shall be victorious. We promise to play with all our strength to make sure we make it to the next stage of the competition.”
When contacted, the University football team coach, Mr Ojo Blessing Ayodeji, said the team was well prepared before the match but it is saddening that it was not enough as there were limitations in facilities which can guarantee better performance from the team.
He decried the lack of a good football field among other facilities.
According to him, “The Unilorin players used the advantage of a larger field (breath of the field). FUOYE’s field is not up to the standard field therefore the players are adapted to where they train every day.”
“[Players should be able to go to a camp, where they can focus on only training] before the competition. Other institutions do [this in preparation] for their games but we couldn’t because of a lack of finance and it is having side effects on our players. So to end it up, the readiness was low due to logistics.”
He, therefore, appealed to the management to help in the provision of the following:
“First, a hundred percent support to FUOYE team as the team is adding values to FUOYE.”
“Also, there should be a source of encouragement to the students representing the school.” “Lastly, the management should provide a standby vehicle that will be for sporting activities only, so the players can be transported easily to training venues and match locations as this as this has been giving them much stress every time,” he said.
He also urged all FUOYE students to keep the hope alive as they will try their best to make sure they win in the 2nd leg of the match.
All efforts to get through to the Student Union Sport’s Director proved abortive.
Sports is an important part of students’ learning and if adequate support is given to the area, students will lead the university to insurmountable glories on local and international fronts, in no time.
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