Tunisian national team coach Faouzi Benzarti held a press conference in Sousse today to offer an update on the state of the Carthage Eagles’ preparations but it was news regarding a player who was not present that ended up stealing the show as it was revealed that Valenciennes midfielder Fahid Ben Khalfallah had informed the Tunisian FA that he would no longer be taking part in the upcoming African Cup of Nations.
“As for players plying their trade outside Tunisia, we had
already talked to Alaeddine [Yahia] and he explained his choice not to come and
was clear. Same thing goes for [Mehdi] Nafti who was clear. However, Fahid has
surprised me. He was supposed to be here yesterday,” explained the tactician.
“His ticket was waiting for him at the airport yesterday in
Paris so he could make it but sadly at the last moment he informed us that he
wasn’t coming. This is something that concerns him but I called all our players
who are abroad three to four weeks before their call-up to see if they wanted
According to Mosaique FM, the Tunisian Football Federation is set on taking the necessary administrative actions against the player and
reporting him to FIFA so that he is barred from representing his club side
while the Carthage Eagles are in Angola.
Ben Khalfallah has not spoken to the press
to offer his side of the story but football fans in the North African country
are eagerly anticipating his justification, especially considering many of them
were opposed to his recruitment in the first place after he turned down an
opportunity to represent Tunisia at the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana.
Rami Ayari, Goal.com