West African neighbours, Nigeria and Niger will be battling for vital points as both teams will Monday evening kick start their quest for honours in the 2016 Africa Nations Championships, CHAN.
The battle ground for the Eagles, Mena clash is the Stade Regional Nyamirambo with kickoff fixed for 5pm Nigeria time.
The Eagles and the Menas are both keen for a bright start in Kigali; a development which portends that fans could be in for an explosive clash later today.
Both Nigeria and Niger are making their second appearance in the CHAN tournament and the two countries are hoping to improve on their hitherto solitary show in the tourney exclusively set aside for players plying their trade in their respective home leagues.
Niger made their debut at the 2011 tournament in Sudan and reached the quarterfinals, where they lost on penalties to the hosts.
As it were, Niger stopped Nigeria from the 2011 competition after they overcame Coach Daniel Amokachi’s team in Kano.
Nigeria first played at the CHAN two years ago in South Africa, where they finished third.
Niger eliminated Togo to qualify for Rwanda 2016, while Nigeria saw off Burkina Faso
Nigeria Coach Sunday Oliseh is beaming with confidence that his players will deliver even as he right admitted that it was crucial to start the 2016 CHAN 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, who faces his first major championship since he was appointed the country’s coach in July 2015.
On his part, Niger coach, François Zahoui, has his eyes on upsetting Nigeria in Monday’s Group C African Nations Championship fixture.
Regardless of the pedigree of the Nigeria team; which finished third in the last CHAN tournament, the Ivorian coach has refused to accept the underdog tag and instead he has tipped his side to beat the Eagles.
“We are not afraid of Nigeria. We know they have a strong team, but they are beatable,” he told Completesportsnigeria.com. com.
“We expect a very competitive game against going by the quality of players in their team.
“I also believe in my players and they are in Great Spirit ahead of the game.
“It will be good if we can start the competition on a positive note as it will improve the confidence of my players.”
Tunisia and Guinea, the other teams in Group C will set the balling rolling with the first game of the day.