Christened the Menas, the Niger national team, situated at the heart of a strong West African football giants has managed to produced a scanty run in qualifying tournaments.
Having often withdrawn from tournament qualifiers due to financial constraints, the Menas debuted at the Gabon and Equatorial Guinea competition where they exited at the first round.
Following a shocking 1-0 win over then Champions, Egypt in the qualifiers for the Gabon and Equatorial Guinea event, Niger qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in its history, despite losing 3-0 in Egypt in the return fixture.
After home wins and some away losses over South Africa and Sierra Leone, Niger qualified for the tourney thanks to their superior head-to-head record against their rivals.
Niger repeated their rare success in Nations Cup qualifiers months on, beating Guinea to book a place in the 2013 edition to be hosted by South Africa.
Housed in Group B with Ghana, Mali and DR Congo, Niger will come face to face with Mali in a group opener in Port Elizabeth, on Sunday, January 10. GNA