Angola put in a good showing at the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ in Germany, even though they did not make it out of the group stage after drawing with Mexico (0-0) and Iran (1-1) and losing a tight encounter with Portugal (0-1). Since then, they have sailed through Group 6 in the qualifiers for the CAN 2008 in Ghana.

The Squirrels of Benin were one of the best second-placed teams in qualifying for Ghana 2008, finishing behind Mali in Group 9 but ahead of Togo. While they lack consistency, they are certainly capable of raising their game, as they showed in their 4-1 win over Germany 2006 finalists Togo and the 1-1 draw with Mali.

Uganda and Niger are one rung lower on the ladder, having never qualified for a final phase. The two teams are familiar with each other, having met in a qualifying group for the CAN 2008 with Uganda coming out on top (3-1, 0-0).

The favourites
Angola are part of the new generation of African football and are very much the team to beat. Benin have high hopes too, and will also be aiming to win the group or at the very least end up as one of the best second-placed teams.

The outsiders
Uganda: Though they are not the same fearsome outfit they were in the 1970s, Mohammed Abbas' Uganda side are never an easy prospect when on home soil. They may well decide who qualifies from this group, where points gained away from home will take on a defining role.

Niger: On the other hand Niger do not appear to be in a position to trouble the bigger names in the group as they look to secure their first ever qualifying berth.

The players to watch
Fabrice Akwa (ANG), Stephane Sessegnon (BEN), Anicet Adjamossi (BEN) and David Obua (UGA).

The crunch match
The two ties between Angola and Benin will go a long way to deciding who finishes top of the group.

A look back
Uganda 3-1 Niger, 8 September 2007 in Kampala. David Obua, who plies his trade up front for the Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, had a day to remember, notching a hat-trick for the Cranes.

The stat
5:
In 2006, Angola surprised everyone by qualifying for their first ever final phase in only their fifth attempt.

Did you know?
Unlike most African countries, no Niger internationals currently ply their trade in Europe. The country does not have much of a footballing reputation as yet but will be counting on its local heroes to make history and qualify for the final phase.

The question
Outsiders Niger and Uganda will be hoping to turn the formbook on its head - will they be good enough to battle for one of the top two spots?