“Saving face”  – Lamentation of Tunisian newspaper ahead of match with Nigeria

“Saving face”  – Lamentation of Tunisian newspaper ahead of match with Nigeria
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Below is an editorial in this Sunday’s edition of Tunisian newspaper, La Presse.

“The balance of power is clearly against the Tunisian team which is going through a dark period and has made us see all the colours on all fronts in this Africa Cup of Nations . 

“But even in this unequal duel with a largely favourite Nigeria, we must not capitulate before the hour, but fight with dignity to snatch a qualification logically out of reach…

“We dreamed at the start of this African Cup of Nations at least of the last four. We are very close to the exit door from the round of 16. 

“The conclusion is sad, but the fact is there. When the training and its basic framework, the system and the animation are not constant and regularly efficient, when the ideas and the project of the coach are not clear enough, we reap, alas, only what we sow. 

“This inconstancy and the results it has generated so far make us say, with heavy hearts, that we don’t have a major event team with which we can write the most beautiful pages of the story. This bitter conclusion, we leave it in brackets for the moment in the hope of a miracle tonight to go to the quarter-finals

What game system  and with what mentality?

“Even if some good news ensures that a good number of restored players will allow us to be complete and to present 20 players on the match sheet, is that enough for all that, with almost all the staff remaining in Douala and without Captain Mondher Kebaïer on the bench to lead the big debate? 

“Logic says no, but we stay hooked  all the same to this bit of hope which makes us believe in this truth which still remains to be demonstrated, that in football, we are never sure of anything. 

“The starting lineup and the game system in place must be up to the enormous challenge and we must play with a commando spirit on an impossible mission so that the dream can become reality. 

“How to approach this tough battle against Nigeria and avoid suffering the damage and try to emerge victorious? Certainly not by indulging and wearing out physically from the kick-off. 

“Reduced on this level, we only have to draw on tactical intelligence and the dosage of efforts to maintain our chances until regulation time of the match and not to sink, from the start of the match,  in force our adversary who is aware of our current evils and who will try to kill the party as soon and as quickly as possible.

Dräger to replace  Mathlouthi

“For this survival match in a tournament, Mohamed Dräger can replace Mathlouthi on the right side, and on the left flank, we must not rely too much on this “versatile side” that   is Ali Abdi and who has proven to be a joker losing to Gambia.

 ”It is necessary to find another player profile among the available ones if Mâaloul and Ben Hmida cannot be in the game  

“For offensive work, the return of Naïm Sliti, even diminished, is a good option to transfigure the front compartment, and his association with Youssef Msakni can contribute to the variation of the game and to more imagination and creativity, provided that they are freed from the defensive withdrawal tasks of which they are incapable and that the pair of pivots, Skhiri-Laidouni, ensure good midfield-attack coordination. 

“The good management of this very difficult match in the current context in which the Tunisian team finds itself, faced with this big piece that is this Nigeria that we could have avoided in this late round, with picky choices at the level of the system, player profiles and registers assigned to them, defensive and offensive animation and the correct transition between them.”

-La Presse.tn

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