The Tahitians should be in formidable form, physically. They were the first country to touch base in Brazil as they arrived on Friday, June 7. The football history of this country is very much unknown globally. Winning the 2012 OFC Nations Cup was a tremendous achievement but participating in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup means even more: it is a gateway to the world for Eddy Etaeta and his underdog team.
“We are very pleased to be here in Brazil for the FIFA Confederations Cup which is a massive event for Tahitian football,” coach Etaeta stated last week before adding:
“We hope to get a warm welcome, win the hearts of the people of Brazil and get their support.”
Tahiti enter this month’s tournament with absolutely no pressure although they are determined to make a good name of themselves on the international stage. Indeed, winning the support of home fans could inspire minnows Tahiti to create surprises in Brazil. Their first challenge is against big dreamers Nigeria.
The Super Eagles have made it clear: they want to become the first African nation to lift the FIFA Confederations Cup title.
“We will go to Brazil – not as tourists but as challengers of the trophy,” 2013 Africa Cup of Nations winning manager Stephen Keshi told BBC Sport.
“The Super Eagles will prove to the rest of the world that what happened in South Africa [in the 2013 AFCON] wasn’t a fluke. They will call us dreamers but you don’t go into a tournament without the strong desire and ambition to win it.”
Stephen Keshi and his men are aware of how difficult things could be against World Cup and back-to-back UEFA European Championship winners Spain. Group B contenders Uruguay are also a tough opposition but if the Nigerians want to progress onto the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup, they must do so at the expense of at least one of the group’s two favourites – La Furia Roja and La Celeste Olimpica.
That said, a strong start against Tahiti is definitely required. Failing to take advantage of the weakest side in the table on Monday would seriously blow up the Nigerians’ momentum. The Super Eagles – like several top sides in the world – have never played against Tahiti in their history. However, after seeing the Chile U-20 team trounce the Tahitians 7-0 in a friendly game recently, Nigeria will be looking to score a flood of goals in Belo Horizonte come June 17.
Goalkeepers: Roche, Meriel, Samin
Defenders: Ludivion, Wagemann, Faatiarau, Vallar, Lemaire, Simon, Vero
Midfielders: Caroine Bourebare, Atani, Aroita, Jonathan Tehau, Aitamai, Tehau
Forwards: Alvin Tehau, Vahirua, Teaonui Tehau, Chong Hue, Tihoni, Hnanyine
Goalkeepers: Enyeama, Ejide, Agbim
Defenders: Oboabona, Echiejile, Ambrose, Egwuekwe, Kwambe, Benjamin, Omeru
Midfielders: Ogu, Obi Mikel, Ogude, Onazi, Eze, Mba
Forwards: Musa, Ideye, Akpala, Gambo, Ujah, Babatunde, Oduamadi
The match should be an entertaining one to watch. Nigeria are not known to score so many goals when they play. This time, though, they will certainly be offered a walk in the park at the delight of their supporters. A one-side affair is likely to occur with the Super Eagles clinching all three points and a good goal difference tally.
Result: Tahiti 0-4 Nigeria