Tunisia outsiders in death group

If Tunisia’s recent Africa Cup of Nations record is anything to go by, they're a team to be reckoned with. They won the title in 2004 on home soil and then reached the quarterfinals in three of the next four Afcon finals.


 
However, just making it out of Group D will be an achievement in South Africa. Côte d'Ivoire are ranked as Africa's number one team and Algeria, in 19th place, are only four places below them in the Fifa rankings and second in Africa.

The Eagles of Carthage proved themselves tough to beat in 2012. Apart from a 2-0 loss to Côte d'Ivoire early in January, they also lost 2-1 to Ghana in a contest that went to extra time and went down by a single goal to Gabon and Switzerland. On the plus side, they won six times and drew four matches.
 
Coach Sami Trabelsi has retained 14 players from the squad that reached the quarter-finals of the last edition of competition in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.

The major absence is French league-winning midfielder Jamel Saihi of Montpellier, who is sidelined with a knee injury.

Striker Issam Jemâa is Tunisia's all-time leading international goal scorer averaging nearly a goal every other game and will be playing in his fifth finals.
 
The 28-year-old former Espérance and Lens star now plays for Kuwait Sporting Club where has made a big impact since signing with the team in 2012. A good showing from Jemâa is vital to Tunisia's chances.
 
Another former Espérance star, Oussama Darragi, who now plys his trade for Switzerland's Sion, is also a standout performer. An attacking midfielder, he was chosen as the best player in the Tunisian league in 2010 and was named the Confederation of African Football's Best African player based in Africa in 2011.

Uncapped France-born midfielder Wahbi Khazri has been included in Tunisia's initial 25-man squad for next month's Africa Cup of Nations.

The 21-year-old switched international allegiance, after playing for France Under-21s, in time to be included for the tournament in South Africa.

Trabelsi has his work cut out to get out of Group D, but don’t bet against Tunisia.

Comments   

 
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