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Nigeria v Tunisia

Afcon 2021: 'Unlucky' Tunisia confident against strong Nigeria - Bilal Kadri

4:33 PM IST 23/01/22
tunisia - afcon 2021
Amid questions about the Carthage Eagles’ form in Cameroon, the tactician is looking to secure a result against Augustine Eguavoen’s men

Tunisia assistant coach Bilal Kadri believes his team can go to the Roumde Adjia Stadium and hurt Nigeria in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 fixture.

Notwithstanding the North Africans’ unimpressive performances in Cameroon, they booked a place in the knockout phase – qualifying as one of the best third-placed teams.

However, they must negotiate their way past the three-time African kings who won all their group matches to top a Group D that boasted Egypt, Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

The Carthage Eagles’ quest for a second African diadem has been marred by their Covid-19 crisis that has left many of their key players out of action.

Even at that, Kadri is bullish of his country’s chances against Augustine Eguavoen’s men in the African classic billed for Garoua.

“Our target was to reach the second round and we did that,” he told the media.

“We have a lot of confidence despite the difficulties we are facing.

“We know well how strong Nigeria is, but we are all ready to go far in this tournament.

“Our morale is good, and we have experienced and great players. Luck was not on our side, but this is football.
“We wished that we are not affected by Covid-19, but we have to deal with the situation professionally. Everyone will give 200% of their powers.”

Nigeria and Tunisia are meeting for the sixth time in the biennial African football showpiece, with four of the previous five matches being played in knock-out games. Nigeria are unbeaten in all five (W3 D2, excluding shoot-outs).

The Super Eagles triumphed 1-0 in their last outing at Afcon 2019. There, Odion Ighalo’s first-half effort handed Gernot Rohr’s team victory in the third-place match settled at the Al Salam Stadium in Cairo.

The North Africans have a lot to worry about as Eguavoen’s team have had more different goal scorers than any other team so far at the ongoing tournament, with Kelechi Iheanacho, Moses Simon, Simon Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi, William Troost-Ekong and Umar Sadiq each scoring once.

Whoever emerges victorious in this outing will square up against either Burkina Faso or Gabon in the quarter-finals which is also billed for Garoua.