PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA – Niger play Ghana in this last round of matches of Group B and every team involved still has a chance of qualification to fight for. The group at it stands has Ghana in top spot with 4 points, Mali in 2nd with 3 points, DR Congo in 3rd with 2 points and Niger in bottom spot with 1 points. So if minnows Niger can pull a win out the bag here, goal difference permitting, they could be heading for an historic qualification. It would be a remarkable story for the side billed as the weakest team in the group but who have player in a gritty and determined fashion and conceded just one goal, even if they have not managed to score any.
The bookies are looking no further than group leaders Ghana to take all three points here on Monday evening with Coral offering odds of 4/9 on a win for the Black Stars (bet £9 and get a £4 profit). A draw being the final outcome has odds of 10/3 from William Hill. A win for Niger, which would turn the group on its head, has pretty steep odds of 8/1 from paddypower but, given the manner in which they have performed so far, it is certainly not impossible that they snatch a win against the odds.
History does not hold any good news for Niger: on the nine times these two sides have met previously Ghana have won eight meetings and, in doing so, hammered a whopping 34 goals past the Nigeriens, whilst Niger only managed a paltry four in return. However, this is their first ever meeting in the cup and perhaps the sense of occasion will spur Niger on. A surprise 1-0 win for Niger has odds of 21/1 from BetVictor. A 0-0 stalemate has odds of 19/2 from the same firm. BetVictor are also offering odds of 11/2 on a routine 2-0 win for Ghana to wrap up their qualification.
Although Ghana will likely be missing the services of Annan, Boakye-Yiadom and Wakaso, they are expecting to field skipper Asamoah Gyan even though he has not been training with the squad. A striker of such quality might be too much for Niger’s defence and, if history is anything to go by, Ghana could put a few past their opponents. Coral are offering odds of 10/3 on over 3.5 goals being scored. Alternatively, Ladbrokes have odds of 6/5 on over 2.5 goals being scored, whereas BetVictor have odds of 3/4 on under 2.5 goals being scored.
Niger skipper Maazou may be the man to look to for a goal in this fixture and that has odds of 9/2 from Skybet. Skybet are also offering the same odds on Kamilou find the net, whereas William Hill have odds of 7/2 on Sidibe doing so. For the Black Stars, potential goal-scorers are all over the starting line-up. Skipper Gyan has odds of 6/5 from BetVictor on getting his side a goal. Alternatively, the same firm have odds of 17/10 on Clottey scoring and Skybet are offering odds of 11/4 on Adomah doing so.
The match kicks off at 17:00 GMT on January 28th.