Second time around for Niger

Niger's first appearance in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations came in 2012 when they came bottom of a group that included 2012 hosts Gabon, Tunisia and Morocco.

 

Although they only scored one goal in their three games, the Ménas were only beaten by late goals in the matches against Tunisia and Morocco.

Hardly a surprising performance for a team that relies on home form to get qualifying. It was home form that got them to South Africa, with two late goals overcoming Guinea’s single goal advantage from the Conakry first leg. It was the same in qualifying for 2012 when they lost all three of their away matches without scoring a goal. They then won all three home games to qualify on the better head to head records.

Taking the point even further, Niger has failed to record a single win away from home in 2012. To make a mark in South Africa, they're going to have to change that tendency.

Striker Ouwo Moussa Maâzou will be the man Niger will need to lead the way in front of goal. The 24 year old Étoile du Sahel marksman, has already packed a tour of Europe into his brief career with short stays at six clubs in Belgium, Russia and France.

The Ménas have South African connections. Issa Modibo Sidibé previously played for Jomo Cosmos in the National First Division, and Chikoto Mohamed turned out for Platinum Stars. Kassaly Daouda, the most experienced Nigerien international, plays in goal for Premier Soccer League club Chippa United.

It is possible that this experience of South Africa could be of value to Niger, but they would need to turn around their desperately poor away form to make an impact in South Africa.

 

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