AFCON Profile: Tunisia

Last Updated: 18/01/12 10:32am

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Tunisia have proved themselves one of Africa's most respected footballing nations since making their debut in June 1957

Tunisia have proved themselves one of Africa's most respected footballing nations since making their debut in June 1957

Tunisia have proved themselves one of Africa's most respected footballing nations since making their international debut in June 1957. The Carthage Eagles acquired the distinction of being the first African country to win a World Cup match when they beat Mexico 3-1 in the 1978 installment in Argentina.

Tunisia have since gone on to participate in two more World Cups in 2002 and 2006, although they have never progressed past the first round of football's biggest competition.

Their hopes of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup were dashed right at the death when they lost their final group game to Mozambique to concede qualification to Nigeria, who finished top of the group following victory over Kenya.

PREVIOUS AFCON INVOLVEMENTS

Back on the continent Tunisia boast an impressive AFCON resume. They lifted the title in 2004 on home soil, while they also have two runners-up finishes, in 1965 and 1996, under their belt.

The 2004 success was followed by quarter-final finishes at the next two tournaments. In 2010 they failed to progress past the group stages after drawing all three of their matches to finish bottom of Group D.

SQUAD OVERVIEW:

The vast majority of Tunisia's squad earn their keep in their home country, while the likes of Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse), Yassine Chikhaoui (FC Zurich), Sami Allagui (Mainz 05) and Issam Jemaa (Auxerre) bring the European experience which coach Sami Trabelsi will hope to draw on.

Several players in The Carthage Eagles squad have also won top club honours on the continent. Moez Ben Cherifa, Youssef Msakni, Khaled Korbi and Oussama Darragi are just some of the squad's star players currently on the books at African Champions League title holders Esperance.

ONE TO WATCH:

Auxerre striker Issam Jemaa is one of the most experienced players in the squad. He is Tunisia's all-time leading goal scorer with a return of 26 goals from just under 60 caps. Jemaa currently turns out for AJA in the French Ligue 1 and counts Esperance and Lens among his former clubs.

He was also part of the Tunisia squad at the 2006 World Cup, although he was forced to withdraw just days before their opening group match against Saudi Arabia due to injury. However, he bounced back in time for the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Ghana, where he helped the team reach the quarter-finals.

FACTS

FIFA Rank: 59

Coach: Sami Trabelsi

Captain: Aymen Mathlouthi

Nickname: The Carthage Eagles

Best AFCON finish: Champions (2004)

Previous AFCON finish: Round 1

FULL SQUAD:

Goalkeepers: Aymen Mathlouthi, Rami Jridi, Moez Ben Cherifa.

Defenders: Anis Boussaïdi, Karim Haggui, Ammar Jemal, Khalil Chemmam, Aymen Abdennour, Bilel Ifa.

Midfielders: Adel Chedli, Hocine Ragued, Youssef Msakni, Khaled Korbi, Oussama Darragi, Yassine Chikhaoui, Wissem Ben Yahia, Mejdi Traoui, Zouheir Dhaouadi, Jamel Saihi.

Strikers: Sami Allagui, Issam Jemâa, Saber Khelifa, Amine Chermiti.

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