Ahram Online, Tuesday 17 Jan 2012

Factbox on Tunisia


Qualifying campaign: Tunisia owe their qualification to a last-second goal from Chad striker Ndouassel Ezechiel – who plays in Tunisian side Club Africain - that gave the team a 2-2 draw with Malawi to help Tunisia finish second in their group behind surprise leaders Botswana. The Tunisians were level on points with Malawi but the latter would have gone through with a better head to head record (0-0 in Malawi and 2-2 in Tunisia) if they defeated Chad.

The Carthage Eagles benefited from the fact that their group was the only one which included five teams, prompting the Confederation of African Football (CAF) to grant automatic qualification for the runners-up.

Despite a surprising home defeat to in their opening qualifier, Tunisia made a rapid recovery with four victories and two draws to clinch their ticket for Gabon with 14 points, three behind Botswana.

History: African champions in 2004, Tunisia made 13 CAN appearances, winning the tournament once in 2004 on home soil. They were also runners up in 1965 and 1996. They qualified for four World Cups in 1978, 1998, 2002 and 2006 but failed to get beyond the first round.

Expectations: Boosted by the presence of several players from local club Esperance who won the 2011 CAF champions League title, Tunisia are expected to seal smooth passage to CAN quarter finals. A part from a classic North African derby against Morocco, the Carthage Eagles shouldn’t face great opposition from new boys Niger and co-hosts Gabon.

FIFA ranking: 59 (10 in Africa)


Winner of of CAN in 2004
Winner of African Nations Championship in 2011
Made 14 appearances in CAN
Made 4 World Cup appearances in 1978, 1998, 2002 and 2006
Made 1 FIFA Confederations Cup appearance in 2005

Coach: Sami Trabelsi (Tunisia).


Key players: Youssef Msakni, Oussama Darragi, Yassine Chikhaoui, Issem Jemaa.


Full Squad:

Goalkeepers: Rami Jeridi (Stade Tunisien), Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile du Sahel), Moez Ben Cherifia (Esperance)

Defenders: Khalil Chammam (Esperance), Anis Boussaidi (Rostov, Russia), Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse, France), Bilel Iffa (Club Africain), Karim Haggui (Hannover, Germany), Ammar Jemal (FC Cologne, Germany)

Midfielders: Adel Chedli (Etoile du Sahel), Oussama Darragui (Esperance), Mejdi Traoui (Esperance), Khaled Korbi (Esperance), Wissem Ben Yahia (Mersin, Turkey), Yassine Chikhaoui (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Hocine Ragued (Karabukspor, Turkey), Jamel Saihi (Montpellier, France)

Forwards: Issam Jemaa (Auxerre, France), Zouhaier Dhaouadi (Club Africain), Youssef Msakni (Esperance), Saber Khelifa (Evian, France), Amine Chermiti (FC Zurich, Switzerland), Sami Allagui (Mainz, Germany)     

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