The late game with kick-off time of 5pm Nigerian time is Sunday Oliseh’s first championship outing as a gaffer and the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund midfielder wants to start on a winning note.
“We have a very good team to do well, but we pray for a good start in the tournament,” said Oliseh.
Giwa FC midfielder, Christopher Madaki and Enyimba Goalkeeper, Femi Thomas also had similar expectations from the opening game against Niger.
“It’s victory we are going for against Niger Republic. Opening games are important in competitions and we are looking forward to start the CHAN on a winning note,” said Madaki.
Thomas added that the two-week training camp in Pretoria, South Africa, has prepared the team for the battle at hand.
“Our camping in South Africa helped us, it brought us together as a team. We are like a family in camp with high spirit. Victory is our target,” Thomas said.
Ghanaian-born Kofi Dan Kowa will be one of the most experienced players for Niger on Monday having being an international since 2008. He featured at the 2012 and 2013 AFCONs for his adopted country.
He has posted foreign stints in Tunisia, South Africa and most recently India. The daring central defender could also play as a defensive midfielder and scored in both legs of the qualifiers against Togo.
Both West African countries are featuring for the second time in this competition.
Niger made their debut at the 2011 tournament in Sudan and reached the quarterfinals, where they lost on penalties to the hosts. The Mena, it would be recalled, stopped Nigeria’s Eagles from participating in the 2011 edition won by Tunisia after overcoming the Daniel Amokachi-led squad in the qualifiers in Kano.
By Olisemeka Obeche