Name: Fakhreddine Ben Youssef
Club: CS Sfaxien
One of the most complete African based forwards, Ben Youssef continues to play a pivotal role in CS Sfaxiens domestic and continental triumphs. Playing alongside the powerful Ivorian Idrissa Kouyate, CS Sfaxien currently have one of the most dangerous strike partnerships in Africa that has managed to end Esperance’s 4 year dominance of the league and lead CSS to winning the CAF Confederation Cup last year beating TP Mazembe. Playing just behind Kouyate, Ben Youssef managed to score 4 goals in last year’s continental campaign aswell as having 4 goals in this year’s CAF Champions League managing to score in every single game in CSS’ preliminary round campaign leading them so far to the last 8 in the competition.
Ben Youssef developed as a first team player for CS Sfaxien in the 2010 – 2011 season when he came in through the youth ranks as 18 year old making few substitute appearances that season under the guidance of Tunisian manager Nabil El-Kouki who eased him into the starting XI. The following season Ben Youssef started to feature more regularly and managed to score 6 goals in the league from a wide position. With more and more playing time Ben Youssef flourished and became one of CS Sfaxiens main men in attack, where he formed a formidable partnership with Idrissa Kouyate who was signed by CSS in 2012.
Considered both footed, Ben Youssef is known for scoring brilliant long range goals, combined with the ability to glide past player after player and the composure he demonstrates in front of goal, it’s no surprise why Ben Youssef is dubbed one of the most complete forwards in Africa. His weakness probably comes in his aerial ability which is a part of his game I’m sure he can improve considering his composing figure and height (6ft 4in). Also has been criticised before for his defensive work rate when played out wide but overall Ben Youssef is definitely an opponent to fear, his destructive pace, strength and stamina will tire any defence all day long.
Ben Youssef has attracted interest from other African clubs, Egyptian giants Al Ahly being the latest to require his services; however CSS have slapped a two million euro price tag on their star man likely to shake off any interest from other African based clubs. However if he continues to impress especially on the continental stage, Ben Youssef will surely start to attract interest from bigger clubs outside of Africa where many African based players dream to play.
Now hoping to be a regular in the Tunisian National team set up before AFCON 2015, Ben Youssef has definitely, this season in particular, fully matured and has proved he has what to takes to battle it out with best of the best in African football and be a part of fulfilling Tunisia’s ambitions of going far in Morocco 2015 after failing to secure a place in this year’s World Cup. Ben Youssef has been capped 8 times so far by Tunisia and was part of the 2013 AFCON squad; he has only scored once in those 8 appearances against Sierra Leone in a 2014 World Cup qualification game that ended 2-2 in Freetown after coming on as a substitute and scoring in the last minute of the game to snatch a point for his team.
AFCON 2015 will be the stage Ben Youssef will want to present himself to the world, the rest of this season and CS Sfaxiens run in the CAF Champions League will provide great preparation for Ben Youssef who for me has definitely guaranteed a place in the Tunisian national set up for that tournament. If he manages to lead CS Sfaxien to a CAF CL triumph and put in some MOTM performances for Tunisia at AFCON 2015, CS Sfaxien can ready themselves to be bombarded by at least a few lucrative Ligue 1 offers as their ‘gingered hair Tunisian prodigy’ prepares for life in Europe.
Words by Abdul Musa (@PepJunior1)