Tahiti vs. Nigeria, 2013 Confederations Cup: Preview and TV schedule

Ian Walton

A team filled with semi-pro players takes on a team that almost refused to play in the tournament. Are the semifinals here yet?

Tahiti have one full-time professional footballer on their squad, Marama Vahirua, and he'll earn his first cap for the nation on Monday afternoon. The small island nation, participating in their first major international tournament outside of Oceania, are massive underdogs against Nigeria, the reigning African champions.

Thanks to a massive semifinal upset pulled off by New Caledonia, Tahiti didn't have to play New Zealand once en route to their win in the 2012 OFC Nations Cup, which qualified them for this tournament. Most of their players have never attempted to play in fully professional leagues elsewhere and those that have struggled to stick on reserve teams or in lower divisions. They're as big of underdogs as underdogs can be.

However, things aren't great in the Nigeria camp. The team initially refused to board their plane to Brazil due to a dispute over payment, so don't expect them to play with the same kind of passion they showed in the Africa Cup of Nations. They're also without key starters Victor Moses, Emmanuel Emenike and Ogenyi Onazi, as well as Kalu Uche, one of the primary backups for Moses and Emenike. They're still almost certainly too talented to lose, but the circumstances surrounding their camp at the moment should keep this from being a bloodbath.

Match date/time: Monday, 3 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizante, Brazil

TV: ESPN (U.S.), BBC Three (U.K.), Sportsnet World (Canada)

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