Sunday, January 15, 2012

Africa Cup of Nations - Group C - Niger

Colours: All orange
Capital: Niamey
Population: 15,730,754

Known as Menas after the hausa gazelle that appears on the club badge Niger are traditionally one of the weaker African teams. Their best performance in the World Cup came in 1982 where they knocked out Somalia and Togo in qualification before losing out to Algeria. Their best result in qualification came in 1990 when they beat Mauritania 7-1.

Like the World Cup they have never qualified for Africa Cup of Nations before and their best results came previously in 2004 when they won all of their home teams in qualification. This time though they are in the finals thanks to a shock 1-0 win over reigning champions Egypt.

Star player: Ouuwo Moussa Maazou

Maazou is a centre forward who is currently on the books of CSKA Moscow, but is on loan at Belgian team Zulte Waregem. He started his career for Niger's army team ASFAN scoring 17 goals in 2006-2007 and 20 the following season. He then signed for Sporting Lokeren in Belgium and after scoring 6 goals in 9 games he was snapped up by Russian giants CSKA. He has never really made an impression at this ex-army club though and was loaned straight back to Lokeren. He did make a few appearances for CSKA when they were in the later stages of the UEFA Cup in 2010, but has spent most of his time on loan at Monaco, Bordeaux and now Waregem.

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