AFCON's opening rounds showed there is no small team in Africa: Tunisia coach

Ahram Online , Monday 15 Jan 2024

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri refuses to underestimate his team’s opponents in the African Cup of Nations after the tournament’s opening matches, which were full of surprises, showed that there are no small teams in Africa.

Jalel Kadri
Tunisia s head coach Jalel Kadri gives a press conference at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium in Korhogo on January 15, 2024 on the eve of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) football match Group E between Namibia and Tunisia. AFP


Tunisia, who have made 21 appearances in the prestigious tournament and won the title in 2004, are competing against Mali, Namibia, and South Africa in Group E.

The Carthage Eagles will face Namibia in their opening match on Tuesday, before facing Mali on Saturday and South Africa on 24 January.

“Namibia is a serious opponent, and we don’t have any easy team. The results in the opening rounds have shown that there is no small team in Africa as we saw, so we need to show them respect and play to our best ability. The opening matches have shown that,” Kadri told CAF’s official website on Monday.

The Tunisian coach’s comments came after Mozambique delivered an impressive performance on Sunday against seven-time African Champions Egypt. The same day, heavyweights Ghana dealt a shock defeat to Cape Verde.

Tunisia, who are making their 16 successive appearance in the AFCON, failed to win their opening matches in the last four editions, but Kadri is optimistic things will be different this time.

“We will try to go as far as possible. We have teams that are good quality so we will try to win each match and go as far as possible,” the 52-year old coach said.

“We must be respectful to all opponents. There are Africa’s best teams that are present so ours is to do our best in every match and take it game by game” he concluded.

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