Nigeria certainly appear to be the favourites in their final African qualifying group for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. The Super Eagles were the only side to collect maximum points in the previous round of qualifiers. Drawing upon players like John Obi Mikel, Obafemi Martins and Nwankwo Kanu, they have a richly talented and ambitious squad, but uncertainty over the future of current coach Shaibu Amodu and the occasional failure of some of their European-based players to show up for crucial matches have their dedicated fans' concerned.
Tunisia will be hoping to make their fourth consecutive appearance at the world finals and, although they have parted ways with former French boss Roger Lemerre and hired Portuguese coach Humberto Coelho to replace him, they are brimming with discipline and stability.
Nigeria: The West African Eagles look to be the best side in the section on paper, especially in physical and technical terms. They will surely have learned their lesson from the last qualifiers ahead of Germany 2006 and will be keen to call up all their stars for each and every contest this time around. Nigeria have gone through some rocky times since bursting onto the scene in 1994, but they seem to be on the right track now, with a balance of youth and experience. They also boast a collection of players as gifted as ever, with the likes of Taye Taiwo and Jon Obi Mikel swelling their ranks.
Tunisia: Appointed in August 2008, Humberto Coelho succeeded Frenchman Roger Lemerre and managed to guide the North Africans to the final round following a goalless draw against Burkina Faso in Ouagadougou. The Carthage Eagles certainly have an impressive pedigree, being four-time FIFA World Cup participants (1978, 1998, 2002, 2006), and boasting players garnering top-level experience in the European leagues. They know how to collect points and play cautiously on the road, making them the main contenders for the fancied Nigerians.
Mozambique: The country's biggest claim to fame is as the birthplace of the legendary Eusebio, the Portuguese striker who ended the 1966 FIFA World Cup in England as top scorer. Its close colonial links with the European country have led to many of Mozambique's players seeking fame and fortune in Portugal, such as former Benfica, Villarreal and Espanyol fullback Armando Sa.
Kenya: The opposition never quite knows what they are going to get with the inconsistent Kenyans, and it is precisely that unpredictability that makes them dangerous. But under the command of local coach, Francis Kimanzi, The Harambee Stars were able to impress in the last round and Dennis Oliech and Co were finally able to get their act together and find some consistency. They did not drop a single point at home and can certainly cause some damage.
The players to watch
John Obi Mikel (NGA), Joseph Yobo (NGA), Nwanko Kanu (NGA), Amine Chermiti (TUN), Issam Jomaa (TUN), Tico-Tico (MOZ), Dennis Oliech (KEN)
The crunch match
Tunisia-Nigeria: Few would bet on the Super Eagles dropping points in Abuja, so the Carthage Eagles will be going all out for victory in Tunis, where they will be hoping their vibrant supporters can make a difference.
A look back
Nigeria-Tunisia, 23 January 2000 : Their CAF Africa Cup of Nations opener in Lagos was a thrilling encounter, with braces from Okocha and Ikpeba inspiring the hosts to a 4-2 defeat of the North Africans. Both sides nonetheless made it to the last four.
Did you know?
Kenya have hired 15 coaches since 1995, including a Nigerian, Christian Chukwu, who took charge of the team in 1998.
0 - The number of victories Tunisia achieved in nine attempts during France 1998, Korea/Japan 2002 and Germany 2006.
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