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Confederations Cup

  • 17 June 2013
  • • 20:00
  • • Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais
  • Referee: J. Aguilar
  • • Attendance: 20187

Tahiti - Nigeria Preview: Minnows look to stun troubled Super Eagles

Tahiti - Nigeria Preview: Minnows look to stun troubled Super Eagles

Timothy Olubulu.

The Africa Cup of Nations champions have seen their preparations hampered, giving the small Polynesian island a glimmer of hope of causing an upset

One is Africa's leading nation with vast experience of international competition, while the other is a 138th-ranked island with a population of just 178,000.

Those two statistics alone mean there should be a vast gulf in class between the two sides on Monday, as they contest their opening Confederations Cup fixture.

But with Nigeria troubled by a dispute between the squad and the nation's football federation, Tahiti will hope to pull of one of the great shocks of international football.

They will be buoyed by the fact the Super Eagles are without Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike, Kalu Uche and Ogenyi Onazi through injury, while hoping centre-back Nicollas Vallar recovers from an ankle injury in time to aid their cause.

  • Nigeria qualified for the tournament after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-0 win over Burkina Faso.
  • The Super Eagles appeared in the original version of the competition - the King Fahd Cup back in 1995.
  • Nigeria beat Japan 3-0, drew 0-0 with Argentina and 1-1 with Mexico in that tournament - meaning they remain unbeaten in the Confederations Cup.
  • Tahiti are ranked 138th in the world - two places better off than Afghanistan.
  • The Polynesian island like to keep it in the family. Alvin, Lorenzo and Jonathan Tehau are brothers, while cousin Teaonui also plays for the national side.
  • Tahiti play their home fixtures at the 10,000-seater Stade Pater stadium.

Players to watch

M. Vahirua

Position: Attacker

Games: 3

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
A huge amount of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the 33-year-old striker. As the only professional in the Tahiti squad, he will be required to display every ounce of his experience and know how and be the focal point around which his team-mates can build.

N. Oduamadi

Position: Attacker

Games: 2

  • 3
  • 0
  • 0
With Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike and Kalu Uche absent through injury, the Varese striker will have an unexpected opportunity to lead the Nigeria attack and prove he is a worthy replacement for the trio of more renowned absentees.

Editor's Prediction

Nigeria head into their opening game of the competition in disarray following a bonus dispute between the squad and the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF). Despite that untimely distraction the Super Eagles should still have enough to see off Tahiti, who have just one full-time professional in their ranks.

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