Mozambique skipper Tico Tico has picked Nigeria to pip Tunisia in the race for the South African ticket in Group Two, arguing that the Super Eagles have a better pedigree at the World Cup than their North African rivals.
Tunisia lead Group Two of the World Cup qualifiers with 11 points from five matches, while Nigeria are two points behind after a slim 1-0 home win over a resolute Mozambique on Sunday.
Mozambique will host Tunisia on November 14, while Nigeria play away in Kenya at the same time with the results of these matches determining the eventual qualifier for the 2010 World Cup.
“This is the first time Africa is hosting the World Cup and we need teams who have World Cup pedigree, teams who can represent Africa well in South Africa,” Tico Tico told Complete Sports newspaper.
“Tunisia always have good qualification record, but their history at the World Cup is nothing to write home about. But you can always bank on teams like Nigeria, Cameroon and now Ivory Coast to give us a strong representation.”
Tunisia have failed to go past the first round in four World Cup appearances, while Nigeria reached the second round in two of the three World Cup tournaments they have featured in.
Mozambique are third in the standings in Group Two and need to beat Tunisia next month to ensure their qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, as closest rivals Kenya are only a point adrift.
“Our performance against Nigeria in Abuja will boost our confidence going into our next match against Tunisia to beat them and qualify for the Nations,” said the striker, who is the only survivor from the team that featured at the country’s last appearance in the competition 11 years ago.