As in the majority of African countries, football is the number one sport in Niger
. Although the country's players still have amateur status, Niger
have enjoyed a considerable amount of success on the international stage since 1976, including a run to the quarter-finals of the African qualifiers for the 1982 FIFA World Cup?, only to lose to Algeria, a team that clinched a spot in Spain. At confederation level, Niger
first entered the African Cup of Nations in 1969, but their debut was to be short but sweet, as they were outclassed by a Ghanaian team firmly established at international level. However, practice makes perfect and results soon improved. The association quickly recognised the benefit of youth development work and in recent years, Niger
have been concentrating on working with younger players. This decision has already borne fruit: the «Nigerien Cadets» now play in international competitions and Niger
will have the honour of hosting the 5th Francophone Games in 2005.