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Cliff-hanger as Tunisia and Mauritania explore last chances of progressing at AFCON



Both teams met three years ago at Egypt 2019

After disappointing identical 1-0 defeats to Mali and Gambia respectively, Tunisia and Mauritania go to  Africa Cup of Nations Group F Match Day 2 this Sunday with no room for error.

On Sunday in Limbe, it looks like the last chance for Tunisia and Mauritania if they are to revive their Round of 16 qualification hopes.

The defeat to Mali was a bitter pill to swallow for the Tunisia who failed in their appeal to get the match replayed.

 But the Tunisians are still having all to play for, starting from this Sunday when they face Mauritania with one thing in mind; get back to the right track.

The 2004 champions who are having their 15th consecutive AFCON appearance need to avoid an early exit, something that they haven’t seen since 1994.

Their coach, Mondher Kebbaier said he hae had put their loss to Mali behind and is hopeful of getting all the three points in their ‘must-win’ match against Mauritania.


“The defeat to Mali is history now. All what we play for now is the three points against Mauritania. We have some absent players but those who will play will fight for the Tunisia shirt.

“We had some problems against Mali and we will correct them. Our objective is to go as far as possible in this tournament.”

His views are shared by his striker, Seifeddine Jaziri. “We are focused and ready despite all the difficulties. We will do our best to defend our shirt and our history. Mauritania game is a must win. Whether I play or not, the important is the interest of the team.”

But Mauritania are not less ambitious. To avoid what they witnessed in their maiden Africa Cup of Nations appearance in Egypt 2019, Mauritania need to revive against Tunisia in what seems to be a very tough mission.

The Mourabitounes had a goalless draw with Tunisia three years ago in Egypt, but they know this result might not be enough this time as they will chase a win to get their hopes back alive.


Coach Didier Gomez Da Rosa remarks: “We hope to win against Tunisia because our target is to stay here. We have faith in ourselves, and we have the assets to compete.

“I feel a real determination in the group. I expect another performance with technical accuracy and individual percussion. We have to be very solid and focused.”

Star player and midfielder, Mohamed Yalli Dallahi  said the game in Egypt three years ago is already history. “We play against Tunisia without thinking of the past.

“We have played against them many times, and we will give our best not to lose this match. We represent a nation and want to honor our shirt. We are going to play our way.”


Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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