Tahiti will play its first ever FIFA Confederations Cup game on Tuesday morning (AEST), when it takes on Nigeria in Belo Horizonte.
The side, which qualified for the tournament after winning the Oceania Nations Cup, faces a Super Eagles team surrounded by controversy, which will only fly into Brazil two days before the match, today Saturday.
Nigeria’s participation was brought into question after its players refused to get on the plane from its hotel in Namibia on Thursday following disputes over bonuses.
The team is believed to have requested $US10,000 ($10,500) in cash and threatened to strike when this was turned down.
However, with the issue now resolved, Stephen Keshi’s squad is scheduled to arrive in Brazil on Saturday to begin preparations ahead of its second Confederations Cup.
Tahiti will face a tough task when it comes up against Nigeria, as the Africa Cup of Nations champion has gone unbeaten in its past three games, registering two draws against Namibia and Mexico and a 1-0 victory over Kenya.
However, with the Super Eagles seemingly struggling for goals, Tahiti will hope to limit them with its strong defence – which includes star player Nicholas Valler – and potentially grab a goal on the break.
Veteran Marama Vahirua – a former France under-21 international – joins up with his country for the first time and manager Eddy Etaeta will be hoping his decision to select the Nancy striker pays off.
Meanwhile, Nigeria forward Brown Ideye, who scored 21 goals for Dynamo Kiev last season, could be key to his country’s chances, with AFCON top-scorer Emmanuel Emenike and Chelsea’s Victor Moses both unavailable.