There’s only one professional player on the Tahiti squad, while Nigeria offer the slight chance of an upset because of their late arrival to the tournament (bonus arguments with the FA), and a head coach that’s been acting a little bit weirdly lately.
Only in African football you might have a situation in which a coach orders his players to refuse the water offered to them by their hosts in a World Cup qualifier when they played in Kenya. Stephen Keshi brought Nigeria back to African prominence by focusing on players playing in the local league instead of egotistical European stars, but his hold and grip on the team might be fading.
Tahiti have no chance of qualifying, and if they actually score a goal through their three matches against Uruguay, Nigeria and Spain, it’ll be a sensation. This is an amateur team, and not a very good one, that somehow managed to win the OFC nations cup in 2010, but it doesn’t make them a fitting part of the tournament they’re currently in.
Just to gain some perspective: They lost 7-0 in a preparation match to the Chile U-20 side. It might get a little bit embarrassing if this result repeats itself, more or less, more than once during their group stage.
For Nigeria, there are some changes from the side that won the African title a few months ago, such as Victor Moses not coming with the team. Still, there’s enough talent to not even think about making a mistake against Tahiti, and considering how bad Uruguay have been lately, finishing second behind Spain isn’t out of the question, as long as inner-quarrels about money and similar things don’t rip this team apart as it has in the past.
Prediction – Tahiti will defend like their lives depend on it, but it’s hard making a change from playing the sport just for fun to a serious level like the one presented at the Confederations Cup. Nigeria will be disappointed with anything less than a 3-0 win.