Goal.com takes an in depth look at each of the 16 national teams aiming to make their mark on Africa's most popular competitionThe 2013 Africa Cup of Nations is fast approaching, and the 16 teams that will be aiming to become continental champions have been decided.
The 2013 Afcon takes place from 19 January to February 10, and it is to be held in the 2010 World Cup host nation, South Africa.
History will be written on February 10 at Soccer City in Johannesburg, as the 29th Africa Cup of Nations comes to a climax and a winner is crowned.
Goal.com introduces you to the 16 teams that will be taking part in this highly-anticipated competition. Here we profile the Mena of Niger.
||Round 1 - 2012
|HOW THEY QUALIFIED
|THE COACH | GERNOT ROHR
Rohr’s contract was not renewed after the co-hosts of the 2012 Afcon were knocked out of the competition in the quarter-finals, which officials in Libreville said was due to the coach’s incorrect substitutions during the game against Mali and his vision-less style. However, the Niger FA said that the 59-year-old German was the right person to build the country’s football and give the players a wider exposure, which they lacked during their first appearance.
|THE CAPTAIN | MOUSSA MAAZOU|
He finally returned to Africa in 2012 to sign for Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia, which some local pundits termed as a career failure. However, he remains one of the best players in the Niger national team and seems indispensable to the technical staff, at least for now.
|THE STAR PLAYER | ISSOUFOU BOUBACAR GARBA
The 22-year-old midfielder joined Tunisian side Club Africain in July 2012 from the Thai Premier League where he spent one season honing his skills and enjoying better exposure. Officials from his new club said the Nigerien youth was recruited because of his constantly improving ability in ball distribution, dispossessing opposing players and falling back very timely to assist the defence. Local pundits have frequently dubbed him the playmaker of the outfit, but he needs to confirm this in South Africa.
|THE EMERGING TALENT | YACOUBA ALI|
Although he is yet to start notching up regular goals for Niger, Ali remains a promising striker, and combined with his other key duties of setting up goals for fellow players and conserving the ball up front to keep the pressure on the adversary, he is bound to be a great asset if he keeps working hard at club level and with the national team.
Chicoto, Boubacar, William, Jimmy
Dankwea, Yacouba, Mohamed, Karim