It almost isn’t fair. Nigeria haven’t lost an international match in 17 games. Tahiti were beaten 7-0 by Chile’s Under-20 team last week. Nigeria have Chelsea star Jon Obi Mikel, multi-millionaire and winner of every top European trophy going. Tahiti only have one professional in their squad of amateurs.
You can see where this is going, can’t you?
The meeting of the two nations in tonight’s Confederations Cup Group B game is a complete mismatch – let’s not even think about the prospect of Tahiti having to face the all-conquering Spaniards on Thursday – and in a tournament that otherwise looks ultra-competitive, Tahiti, not even a recognised country, are the poor relations in every sense.
Their team, ranked 138 in the world and made up of postal workers and such, have never before shared such exalted company on the international stage and are unlikely to ever again, and it is shame for them that their moment in the sun is going to be a painful one as far as the football is concerned.
If ever this needed emphasising, bwin make Nigeria 1/20 favourites to win the match and when you are getting prices like that on a Nigerian team (the draw is 25/2 and a Tahiti win 22/1) then you know that you are dealing with no hopers.
That isn’t to belittle Nigeria in any way, because at the moment the Super Eagles have a fine young team.
They may lack the pizazz of the famous 1994 team, but the Nigerians come into the Confederations Cup on the back of winning the Africa Cup of Nations and on that great unbeaten run.
Of course, as is often the case when it comes to Nigerian football, there is trouble behind the scenes with a dispute over unpaid bonuses, but even if Stephen Keshi’s young side have stuttered a tad since their ACON victory they will have too much for Tahiti.
Odds of 1/20 are nobody’s idea of a bet, so looking for value is the key and the 13/10 that Nigeria win by at least four goals looks like the play.
In Ideye Brown, who hit 21 goals for Dynamo Kiev last season, and Ahmed Musa, who scored 11 for CSKA Moscow, Nigeria have a strikeforce that will be too much for Tahiti to handle and with the minnows failing to score in four of their last six (against the likes of New Caledonia and Solomon Islands) it is hard to come to any conclusion other than a handsome Nigerian win.
Fitness as well as extra class will tell and with Nigeria keen to put a marker down ahead of their true tests against Spain and Uruguay, they can run out easy winners giving Tahiti a three-goal headstart at 13/10.