Niger Tornadoes head coach Hamza Abara still nurtures hope that his team will escape relegation at the end of the season in spite of the herculean task.
The Ikon Allah Boys are 11th on the NPFL Group A table with 15 points from 17 games and they are seven points adrift of top-flight safety with only five matches to the end of the season.
Abara’s men got a crucial away point against Bendel Insurance last weekend in Benin and the gaffer still believes that he and his players still have an outside chance of staying up if they are able to pick up most of the remaining 15 points.
"We haven’t played at our best for a few games now but the players are showing that they have the love of the club at heart,” Abara told the media.
“They (the players) have stayed glued to the television downstairs and social media, waiting for the results of other games because that’s how much it means to everybody at the club. They are showing that they won’t give up until the end when it is mathematically impossible to do anything.
“The time for summing the season up is going to be next Sunday when we are up against Sunshine Stars in Akure but first we must beat Katsina United at home on Wednesday. What I can say is that my team is battle ready and they showed that with the result they got against Bendel Insurance against all odds. They did everything we asked them to do and I am proud of their performance.
“They must replicate the same performance or even more when we host Katsina United on Wednesday. We know that at this stage of the season we can’t joke with the maximum points and having worked so hard in Benin on Saturday, it is just normal that we go for the three points to brighten our chances even when most have written us off.”
Abara admitted that so many factors went wrong with the team at the beginning of the season but he pointed at the disharmony in the club management.
“We have a lot that has gone wrong but we do not have time to dwell on any negativity now,” he continued.
“We must work on our Premier League safety first and at the end of the season, we are going to do a scrutiny of how the season has gone. We need to redouble our efforts and focus on the remaining five games.
“It won’t be easy to fight when you have your back on the ground already but we must not be discouraged. We must do all to satisfy our conscience that we have given all to the club,”
The Ikon Allah Boys have been poor in their home matches where they have only garnered 12 points from a total of 24 points while they have also picked three points from their away trips out of 27 points available.