As the battle for qualification to Brazil 2014 World Cup heats-up, the North Africans are eager to consolidate on their lead in group B
Bousaidi, Ifa, Abdennour, Chemmam
Traoui, Mouelhi, Msakni, Jemaa
Conteh, Simbo, Kargbo, Sama
Sankoh, Bangura, Suma, Strasser
After a terrible showing at the recent Africa Cup of Nations, Tunisia will come out in full force at the Stade Olympique de Radès to challenge Sierra Leone for one of Africa’s five slots to the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
These teams are no strangers to one another as this will be their third encounter in six months. The painful elimination of the West African country from the South African 2013 Cup of Nations on penalties is still very fresh in the memory.
For the visitors who are currently ranked 63rd in the world by FIFA, it is a nice platform to avenge their defeat and also to attempt to qualify for their first World Cup. Although the west Africans, who are currently second on the log behind their hosts will be without the services of Sweden based striker Mohamed Bangura and Nigerian born Victor Kayode due to injury.
Coach Olof Mattsson will be banking on star striker Kei Ansu Kamara who recently became the first Sierra Leonean to score in the English Premier League, Rodney Strasser, Mohamed Medo Kamara and Aziz Deen Conteh to wreck havoc against the Tunisians.
The Carthage Eagles who have a 100 percent start to the 2014 Brazil qualifiers will be hoping to continue in this stead under new coach, Nabil Maaloul, who replaced Sami Trabelsi after their disappointing showing in South Africa.
Maaloul on his own part has recalled former captain Karim Hagui but not made too many other changes to the squad that competed at the Nations Cup finals.
Like the Leone Stars, the Tunisians will be banking on M’sakni Youssef, Mouelhi and Issam Jemma to add some weight to their attacking line while Qatar-based Msakni will need to be checked well by the Leone Stars defence.
If the Carthage Eagles, who will have the benefits of good preparations at the 2013 AFCON, beat the Leone Stars, they go five points clear regardless of what happens in Equatorial Guinea where Cape Verde will be visiting. The Tunisian authorities have decided that the entry for the Eagles women supporters would be free.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Tunisia is ranked no 44 in the world.
Tunisia edged past Sierra Leone on the away goals rule to qualify for the recent tournament in South Africa but after a 2-2 draw in the first leg in Freetown were lucky to get away with a goalless draw at home in October.
Sierra Leone have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup.
Saturday’s game at Rades will again see a limited crowd allowed in to support the home side, as security restrictions on football attendance in the wake of the Arab spring continue.
- Issam Jemma is Tunisia’s top scorer with 34 goals.
The Carthage Eagles have been at the Fifa World Cup on four different occasions.