The journey to becoming 2022 HiFL champions began on the 21st of June, 2022 as thirty-eight teams in six groups battled for 12 spots in the next round of Nigeria’s most prominent collegiate football competition.
The group stage fixtures took place in five locations spread between the Sahel and Coastal zones of Nigeria.
The semi-finalists of HiFL 2021; UNIMAID Desert Warriors, UNN Lions, AAUA Luminaries, and FUTMINNA Transformers had already secured their spots in the round of 16 because of their performance last term.
In group A, there were five teams namely; BUK Stallions, YUSMUK Ravens, ATBU Bravehearts, UNIJOS Highlanders, and KASU Crocs.
ATBU Bravehearts and BUK Stallions qualified from the Bauchi state based group.
Group B had six teams namely; Al-Hikmah University, KSU Steelers, IBBU Ranchers, UAM Tillers and 2022 NUGA champions, UNILORIN Warriors.
The Unilorin Warriors, KSU Steelers and UAM Tillers emerged as the best three teams in the Kogi State zone.
The third group, C, had FUOYE Dazzlers, LASU Blazers, UI Pioneers, Lead City Gladiators, LAUTECH, OOU and ELIZADE University.
Teams that qualified were LASU Blazers and FUOYE Dazzlers.
Hosts of the 2022 NUGA Games, UNILAG Marines, ABUAD stars, OAU Giants, TASUED, EKSU, FUTA Tigers and UNIOSUN were all group D.
Debutantes, EKSU qualified was the only team that qualified from the region.
In Group E, there was FUTO, MOUE, AAUM, ESUT, UNIPORT and FUNAI.
UNIPORT took the sole ticket from the group.
In the last group named F, UNIBEN Royals, DELSU, FUPPRE, Rivers State University, Nnamdi Azikwe University, and University of Calabar all jostled for a ticket.
However, DELSU ended up taking it over the experienced UNIBEN Royals.