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The Valenciennes winger says that he didn’t travel to Angola with the Carthage Eagles because the tournament came too soon after Tunisia was knocked out of World Cup contention.

Valenciennes midfielder Fahid Ben Khalfallah has told Sport24.com that the reason he decided to skip the African Cup of Nations in Angola was merely because he had still not recovered from Tunisia being deprived of a World Cup place on the last day of qualifying.

“If the African Cup had been four or five months after our elimination then it wouldn’t have been a problem to participate. Plus the staff was quickly switched right before the competition. I’ll say it again, I didn’t go to the AFCON because of this very painful elimination,” he said.

Meanwhile the player also responded to the widely held belief in the North African country that he was taking advantage of his heritage and was not interested in the Carthage Eagles as much as he was interested in playing in the World Cup to raise his personal profile.

“Those who say that I only played for Tunisia to make a World Cup are wrong! For example, if we had been eliminated by Nigeria before our last match then I would have certainly played in the AFCON because I would have gotten over it by then. We’re two fingers away from the World Cup and we get beat by Mozambique, it was too much,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Ben Khalfallah did acknowledge the fact that his decision to wait until the day he was supposed to arrive in Tunis for a pre-tournament training camp to inform the technical staff he wasn’t joining the team was wrong and that he would have done better to be clear about his desire to skip the competition weeks before that.  He also mentioned that he is open to rejoining the Carthage Eagles in the future if he were to be allowed back in the fold.

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