Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Niger may have crashed out of the ongoing 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, but the country's team, known as Menas (Gazelle), heads home with pride.
When Niger made its debut in Africa's top football tournament at the last edition in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea last year, the West Africans lost all their three matches and finished without a single point.
One year on, at the current tournament, the story is different: Niger drew one match (against DR Congo) and garnered an historic point, its first ever at the competition.
Nigerien football fans as well as members of the Menas and their officials are keenly aware of this fact, and it showed in the way they celebrated the team's goalless draw against DRC in their second group B match.
On Monday, Niger lost its final group match to favourite Ghana 3-0.
While many may symphatise with the Menas for suffering such a huge loss, team coach Gernor Rohr believes there is still a reason for Niger to celebrate, when he put the team's second appearance at the Nations Cup in a historical context.
“Today (Monday) was a difficult game for us. I have to admit that we played a team that had players who were faster than us. I’m proud of my players and the future is bright.
“I have a team of courageous players. At least, we got one point and is historic,” he said after the match, indicating that the Menas will be galloping home in style, while looking ahead to a better performance in 2015 in Morocco.