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FIFA U-17 World Cup: Niger look to impress in debut season

Niger will aim to impress when they take part in their debut FIFA U-17 World Cup tournament.

fifa u17 world cup 2017 Updated: Sep 30, 2017 15:50 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA U-17 World Cup,FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017,Niger Football Team
This will be Niger’s first FIFA U-17 World Cup appearence. (FIFA)

Niger are one of the three countries who will be making their debut at the FIFA U-17 World Cup this year alongside New Caledonia and India. Their impressive showing at the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations, where they finished fourth, saw them book their place at the World Cup.

On paper, Niger are one of the weakest teams in the competition. But remember this: they came back to stun the reigning world champions Nigeria 3-1 in the African qualifiers. So what if prior to 2015, the ‘Junior Menas’ hadn’t participated in any major U-17 tournament.

KNOW THE COACH: Tiemogo Soumaila

Tiemogo Soumalia, 54, is a former captain of the Niger senior team. A solid defender, his training as a coach took place in Europe and in Brazil. In 1995, he was appointed Niger’s national director of football. The FIFA U-17 World Cup will be Soumalia’s biggest assignment as a coach yet.

PAST PERFORMANCE: Did not participate: 1991-2007. Disqualified: 2009. Did not qualify: 2011, 2013, 2015.

PASSAGE TO INDIA: Niger’s fourth place finish at the 2017 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations assured them of a place in the U-17 World Cup in India.

Results at 2017 Africa U-17: Dw 2-2 V Angola; lost 1-2 to Mali; bt Tanzania 1-0; dw 0-0 V Ghana (lost 5-6 on penalties); lost 1-3 to Guinea.

First Published: Sep 20, 2017 16:51 IST