2015 Cup of Nations Review: Tunisia
By Maher Mezahi
Yassine Chikhaoui. After several debilitating injury spells, the Tunisian virtuoso seems to finally be hitting the optimum peak most of us were expecting when he first broke out onto the scene in 2006.
It’s extremely harsh criticising a striker that scored three goals in four matches, but Ahmed Akaichi’s stint as Tunisia’s targetman highlighted why the Carthage Eagles so badly need a striker. Akaichi was but a big body occupying space in attack and his three goals were tap-ins. On the ball the ES Tunis striker was industrious but wasteful.
Now that Issam Jemaa has retired, Tunisia lack a bona fide striker and they can no longer continue to experiment with makeshift options. Toulouse’s Wissam Ben Yedder could be an option worth pursuing if Georges Leekens can convince him to ditch his dream of playing for the French national team.
Tunisia’s quarterfinal match against Equatorial Guinea produced perhaps the ugliest parts of the entire tournament. Rajindraparsad Seechurn, a Mauritian referee officiated the match and seemed to favour the hosts. His controversial awarding of a penalty-kick provoked the wrath of several Tunisian players and staff at full-time and they chased him down the tunnel.
After the match, a few Tunisian delegates accused the CAF of conspiring in favour of Equatorial Guinea. The Carthage Eagles may now be suspended from AFCON 2017 if they do not retract their statement.
The only positive for Tunisia was seeing Chikhaoui show up his pre-2008 reputation when the likes of Bayern Munich were said to be after him.
Otherwise, I was once again dissapointed that nobody wants to play a level of ultra-attacking with this Tunisia team.
Their defense is poor & will only keep clean sheets with 3 at the back while they really have no deep midfield that stands out so they should play to their strength which is the offensive part.
Use the offensive fullbacks Brigui & Maaloul for width so their dribblers ability is not misused to run down the touch line. That a player like Msakni is not talked about anymore is a testament to Tunisia’s failures.
Most African sides will heel to the high press we saw at Esperance 09-12 not this mechanical team.
Tunisia don’t need to stoop like Algeria to beg players; use FBY, Msakni, Rejaibi et al and play to outscore opponents. This is their strength.