Niger intent on breaking losing streak

The Gazelles have yet to win a single game in Africa Cup of Nations tournaments and are confident they can overcome their poor record in 2013

Niger faces Mali on Sunday, in their opening game of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and believes they can win their first Afcon match according to keeper Daouda Kassaly,

Niger did not find a victory in their first Africa Cup of Nations outing in 2012, where they had to contend with hosts Gabon, Tunisia and Morocco during the group stages of the tournament. The team lost all three of their group games. 

"Playing in 2012 has been positive and (the lessons) will be put to (good use) in South Africa,” the Chippa United keeper says.

"The objective of the entire team is different to last year. We will fight to qualify for the next round as we are better motivated now, and backed by the entire country.

"It's an extra motivation for me after reading that Chippa United supporters will travel to Port Elizabeth to support Niger."

Veteran defender Abdoul Karim Konate echoed Kassaly’s words when he said, “The first time, we went to Gabon for our first CAN. We went to discover. So, we have seen our weaknesses and our qualities. Now, for our second time, we are not going to watch, we are going to try to confirm (compete)."

Niger was able to beat Guinea on the road to the finals and will not be an easy team to conquer in Port Elizabeth, with the likes of striker Moussa Maazou in their ranks, who has been the inspiration behind their current good form.

Niger beat Togo at home and held onto a goalless draw against Burkina Faso during their preparations for the tournament.