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HindustanTimes Tue,25 Nov 2014

Football

Tahiti plot ambush of jetlagged Nigeria
AFP
Belo Horizonte, June 17, 2013
First Published: 02:07 IST(17/6/2013)
Last Updated: 02:52 IST(17/6/2013)

Nigeria's status as resounding favourites to beat minnows Tahiti in their Confederations Cup opener on Monday has been compromised by a delayed arrival that leaves them just 36 hours to prepare for the game.

Tahiti became the first team to arrive in Brazil for the intercontinental showpiece when they touched down on June 7, a full 10 days before the Group B clash with African champions Nigeria in Belo Horizonte.

In stark contrast, Nigeria arrived at 0400 local time (1230 IST) on Sunday, giving Stephen Keshi’s squad precious little time to shake the jet lag from their systems and get ready for the match.

A row over bonus payments had put Nigeria's participation in jeopardy, only for sports minister Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi to broker a truce between the squad and the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF).  http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/6/17_06_13-metro19b.gif

The Super Eagles have nonetheless gone 17 games unbeaten and will expect to open their campaign with victory against a side ranked 138th in the FIFA ranking.

Representing the French Polynesian islands in the south Pacific, which have a population of just 270,000, Tahiti have no previous senior tournament experience.

Their preparations have included a 7-0 thrashing by Chile's under-20 side and a 1-0 loss to Brazilian second-tier club Mineiro, and forward Steevy Chong Hue knows his side could be set for a rude awakening.

"For an amateur player, it is a dream to face the best players in the world," he said.


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