Africa Cup of Nations preview: Niger

Gernot Rohr on February 5, 2012
© PA Photos
Sports Mole looks ahead to Africa Cup of Nations hopes for Niger, whom many rank as outsiders.

When Niger begin their campaign in South Africa, it will be only the second time that the country has competed at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The other occasion was at least year's tournament, where they failed to get beyond the group stages.

This time around they are coached by German Gernot Rohr, who took Gabon to the quarter-finals of the competition in 2012 before he was sacked.

Menas reached this stage thanks to a 2-1 aggregate victory over Guinea in the final round of qualifying.

Group: B

Players to watch out for:

Issoufou Boubacar Garba

While Niger's performance at the last Africa Cup of Nations were largely forgettable, the displays put in by Garba left many pundits impressed. Despite being just 22, he started a large number of his team's attacks and always posed a threat to the opposition's defence. For that reason, he will go into the tournament with a lot of expectation on his shoulders.

Moussa Maazou

The striker has been in good goalscoring form on the international scene in recent months. He found the net during the qualification rounds against South Africa and followed that up with another striker during a friendly against Togo last week. Having had spells in France with the likes of Monaco and Bordeaux, the 24-year-old will be viewed as his nation's main goal threat.

Previous best: Group stages 2012

Odds outright to win: 150/1

Sports Mole says: Group stages

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Result: Gabon 2-0 Niger
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