Nigeria duo upbeat on Premier League survival hopes


Semi Ajayi and Ola Aina
Semi Ajayi and Ola Aina

Nigeria defenders Semi Ajayi and Ola Aina are teaming up for the Tremendous Eagles for the Cup of Nations qualifiers – however within the Premier League, they’re relegation rivals at West Brom and Fulham.

And with 10 video games remaining within the season, the drama is rising on the foot of the desk.

The Baggies, who’ve collected simply three wins all season, discover themselves 10 factors adrift of 17th place.

“It isn’t straightforward. We’re determined proper now and we want factors as quickly as attainable,” Ajayi informed BBC Sport Africa.

“I might say everybody’s written us off however we positively have not actually written ourselves off.”

Not all doom and gloom

Portsmouth and West Ham went on to safe Premier League survival from related positions in 2006 and 2007 respectively, and Ajayi is hopeful 19th-placed West Brom can haul themselves out of bother.

“We’re nonetheless combating, we nonetheless have not given up,” he mentioned.

“We nonetheless have perception, we nonetheless have hope and it is nearly taking one sport at a time.

“Giving our most and we’ll see the place that takes us. Hopefully that can preserve us within the premier league however we positively have not given up.”

Fulham, with two factors beneath Newcastle and three off Brighton, are the opposite promoted aspect in a battle to avoid wasting their Premier League pores and skin.

The Cottagers appeared doomed early within the season however a current revival gave them the chance to maneuver out of the relegation zone for the primary time since December.

Nonetheless, the 17th-placed aspect suffered a residence loss in opposition to Leeds within the final match earlier than the break – their third defeat in 4 video games.

“It will get powerful typically, but it surely’s a problem that I embrace,” mentioned Aina, who’s on mortgage from Italian membership Torino.

“Clearly, it is approaching the top of the season now with 9 video games left.

“Naturally, it begins to turn out to be a little bit of a panic for many, however I believe Fulham are in a very good house.

“We’ve a very good staff and a very good supervisor in Scott Parker, so we simply need to preserve going and dealing, and attempt to get the factors we want.”

Thoughts with nation

In want of 1 level from two video games to seal qualification to subsequent yr’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, the Tremendous Eagles journey to Benin on 27 March earlier than internet hosting Lesotho in Lagos three days later.

“We’re very ready, since November we have had this fixtures in thoughts to get the job performed primarily. I believe all people is itching to get on the market and qualify this nation for the Afcon,” Ajayi added.

Three time African champions Nigeria are presently prime of Group L the place all of the groups, which embody Benin, Sierra Leone and Lesotho, can nonetheless qualify for January’s finals in Cameroon.

Aina admits that actuality makes their job so much demanding because the squad transfer on from an embarrassing 4-Four draw at residence to Sierra Leone 5 months in the past.

“As unusual because it sounds, I imagine everybody’s moved on from that Sierra Leone sport however the classes realized stays with us,” Aina defined.

“We journey to Benin with all seriousness, we’ll go there and attempt to win the sport earlier than internet hosting Lesotho at residence.”

The Tremendous Eagles have eight factors, one forward of the squirrels of Benin whereas the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone have three factors and Lesotho two.

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