Nigeria skipper Nwankwo Kanu has said a 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier against Tunisia on 20 June could well decide the country's qualification to the football extravaganza in South Africa next year.
Tunisia lead the standings in African Zone Group 2 on six points, two points more than Nigeria. Mozambique and Kenya are the other teams in the group.
"The standings in our group shows clearly that the match in Tunis will go a very long way in determining who qualifies for the World Cup," said Kanu, who was first capped by Nigeria in 1993.
"We all know the importance of this match. It's a do-or-die affair and we cannot afford to lose this game," he said. "We want to beat Tunisia right there in Tunis."
At 32, Kanu has defied critics who say he is over the hill and should give way to much younger players. Last week, he played the first half in a friendly against France which Nigeria won 1-0 and he came on as a second half substitute to inspire a youthful Nigerian side to a big 3-0 home win over Kenya in their FIFA World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
We all know the importance of this match. It's a do-or-die affair and we cannot afford to lose this game.
"I'm still needed in the Eagles. I will quit when the time comes, but for now, the boys need to tap from my experience and knowledge. And they are learning very fast," he said.
"The little I was able to show them against Kenya is that they need to be composed when things are not going right for the team and take the initiative," said Kanu.
"I hope to remain a part of the team until the coach tells me he no longer needs me."
In the meantime, Nigeria's Super Eagles will depart for a training camp in Malta on Saturday prior to the match against Tunisia. A squad of 23 players will then leave for Tunis on 18 June for the match.