All but one of the champions of Oceania ply their trade in the non-professional domestic league, and Al Hain-Cole expects them to be outclassed by Stephen Keshi's sideTahiti’s team of amateurs begin their eagerly anticipated Confederations Cup campaign on Monday as they take on Nigeria in Belo Horizonte.
The tiny Polynesian island are in Brazil thanks to last year’s shock OFC Nations Cup victory, but are expected to find themselves out of their depth against the more prestigious continental champions, with Paddy Power offering hefty 28/1 (29.00) odds on them pulling off a giant-killing this evening.
With Spain and Uruguay coming up next, Stephen Keshi’s side will be hoping to make the most of their opening clash, and are overwhelming 1/12 (1.08) favourites to cruise to victory.
Even a draw would be celebrated uproariously by Tahiti’s 200,000 or so inhabitants, but odds of 10/1 (11.00) suggest that a share of the spoils is unlikely for Eddy Etaeta’s men.
Team Fenua’s historic OFC Cup triumph marked the first occasion that the tournament was not won by traditional regional heavyweights Australia or New Zealand, and some may argue that the gruelling schedule of five matches in 10 days, in sweltering conditions, played a part in the Kiwis’ disappointing display, with the Socceroos no longer entering the competition.
While it would be cruel to diminish the nation’s achievement at the tournament, a recent 7-0 defeat in a warm-up match against the Chilean Under-20s team is probably indicative of the Pacific islanders’ level, and they will by truly up against it against the African champions.
Considering the gulf in class, odds of 4/7 (1.57) seem extremely generous on The Super Eagles to win both halves, having gone 17 games unbeaten and nine since they last failed to score.
Tahiti will be particularly keen to enjoy their experience in Brazil as they are already certain not to be returning for next summer’s World Cup, having lost five of their last six qualifiers, including a 4-0 home defeat to New Caledonia.
Brown Ideye, Ahmed Musa and the rest of the Nigerian attack will be licking their lips at the prospect of facing such a vulnerable defence, and a heavy defeat may well be on the cards, with 13/5 (3.60) odds well worth considering on Keshi’s men winning by at least five goals.
|Nigeria to win both halves at 4/7 (1.57) with Paddy Power
||Nigeria (-4) to win at 13/5 (3.60) with Paddy Power|
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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.