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Afcon 2021: Tunisia blow as Covid-19 rules out six players for Mauritania date

1:33 PM IST 15/01/22
Tunisia Afcon 2021.
The Eagles of Carthage will have to do without six players for their second Group F clash against Les Aigles on Sunday

Tunisia have confirmed six Covid-19 infections in their squad as they prepare to take on Mauritania in their Africa Cup of Nations fixture on Sunday.

The Eagles of Carthage started their campaign in the 33rd edition in Cameroon with a disappointing 1-0 defeat against Mali, a game which was ended prematurely by Zambia referee Janny Sikazwe.

Sikazwe blew his whistle twice to signal for full-time a decision that was contested heavily by Tunisia after it ended their slim chance of pulling a comeback in the Group F contest.

Ahead of their second game against Al-Murabitun, Tunisia’s qualification hopes have suffered another blow with six players set to miss the clash at Limbe Omnisport Stadium.

“In the framework of the round tests to prevent the infection of the Coronavirus conducted by Caf, which is ahead of each match as per the rules of the Afcon, the tests conducted this morning revealed the infection of both Osama Al-Hadadi, Naim Al-Seliti, Johan Touzghar, Mohammed Drager, Asam Al-Jabali and Dylan Bronn and they have been isolated from the group with Covid-19,” Tunisia confirmed on their social media pages.

“We wish the players a speedy recovery and a speedy return to activity.”

Out of the six players, two of them - Al-Seliti and Dylan Bronn started in the opening game against Les Aigles while Touzghar was introduced in the second half.

After the opener against Mali ending prematurely, Tunisia coach Mondher Kebaier explained why his players refused to resume action.

“The referee blew the whistle at the 85th-minute mark and at the 89th-minute mark, it's lunar,” Kebaier said. He deprived us of concentration.

“We did not want to resume because the players had already taken their baths, deconcentrated and demoralised in the face of this gruesome situation.”

Tunisia must win their game against Mauritania to stand a chance of reaching the knockout phase as they are currently placed at the bottom of the group without a point.

Debutants The Gambia, who beat Mauritania 1-0 in their opener, are topping the group with three points while, Mali, who beat the Eagles of Carthage, are second, also on three points.