Ultimate underdog Tahiti has nothing to lose

Tahiti looks to continue its surprising run as the OFC Nations Cup champions participate in their first-ever Confederations Cup. The tiny Polynesian nation is in Group B along with Uruguay, Spain and Nigeria.

Only 1 professional player on tiny nation's roster

Tahiti players take part in a training session on May 22 in Papeete on the French Polynesian island. (Gregory Boissy/AFP/Getty Images)


Quick facts

Group: B (SpainUruguayNigeria)

FIFA ranking: 138

Confederation: OFC

Head coach: Eddy Etaeta

Best result: First appearance

Qualification method: 2012 Nations Cup champion

First-round schedule: Nigeria (June 17 @ 3 p.m. ET), Spain (June 20 @ 3 p.m. ET), Uruguay (June 23 @ 3 p.m. ET)


  • Not a fairy tale. A tiny island with a population of less than 200,000 people, Tahiti faces the biggest soccer challenge in the history of the nation. The 2012 OFC Nations Cup champions arrive in their first-ever Confederations Cup ready to continue their Cinderella story. Unfortunately, there won't be a fairy godmother in Brazil to look after the Polynesians, who will need to bring their best game ever if they intend to even compete against the world’s best soccer nations.
  • Nothing to lose. Tahiti’s chances of qualifying or even earning a victory in Group B against the likes of Spain, Uruguay and Nigeria are very slim, a situation the group should use in their favour when jumping on the field. A team with nothing to lose always represents some danger. A draw would be considered a huge success for the underdogs.
  • Lone pro. Veteran Marama Vahirua is the only player from Tahiti to ever play at the professional level. The playmaker has the responsibility of guiding a group of amateur players in a tournament filled with not only professionals, but also superstars of the sport. All eyes will be on Vahirua when the "Iron Warriors" make their debut in Belo Horizonte.

Key player

With more than 15 years of experience in France’s Ligue 1, Marama Vahirua is no stranger to soccer’s big stage. The experienced player is the one in charge of Tahiti’s midfield as the Polynesians aim to follow up on their OFC title and upset the favourites in Group B.


  • Goalkeepers: Xavier Samin (AS Dragon-TAH), Mickaël Roche (AS Dragon-TAH), Gilbert Meriel (AS Tefana-TAH)
  • Defenders: Vincent Simon (AS Dragon-TAH), Teheivarii Ludivion (AS Tefana-TAH), Nicolas Vallar (AS Dragon-TAH) ,Stephane Faatiarau (AS Tefana-TAH), Tamatoa Wagemann (AS Dragon-TAH), Yannick Vero (AS Dragon-TAH), Edson Lemaire (AS Dragon-TAH), Rainui Aroita (AS Tamarii Faa’a-TAH)
  • Midfielders: Jonathan Tehau (AS Tamarii Faa’a-TAH), Lorenzo Tehau (AS Tefana-TAH), Alvin Tehau (AS Tefana-TAH), Stanley Atani (AS Tefana-TAH), Heimano Bourebare (AS Tefana-TAH), Henri Caroine (AS Dragon-TAH), Ricky Aitamai (AS Vénus-TAH), Yohann Tihoni (AS Roniu-TAH)
  • Forwards: Steevy Chong Hue (AS Dragon-TAH), Teaonui Tehau (AS Dragon-TAH), Samuel Hnanyine (AS Dragon-TAH), Marama Vahirua (Panthrakikos-GRE)