Tunisia AFCON 2023 squad reaction: Can Eagles of Carthage end two decades of heartbreak?

Despite being one of the earliest competitors in AFCON, making their debut in 1962, Tunisia have struggled in recent years. Since their 2004 victory on home soil, they have only made the podium once. They will be hoping to change that in Ivory Coast this month.

Tunisia will be hoping to change their AFCON fortunes – Photo by Icon sport

Latest Tunisia AFCON 2023 outright odds

Tunisia AFCON 2023 squad review

Hannibal Mejbri has ruled himself out of AFCON – Photo by Icon sport

One of the biggest stars of our Tunisia preview was Manchester United’s Hannibal Mejbri. The youngster has been one of very few bright spots for United in a dismal season. But the 20-year-old will not be at AFCON, with manager Jalel Kadri saying “Hannibal told me that he did not feel ready for the African Cup of Nations because he is going through an important situation at his club”.

Full Tunisia AFCON 2023 squad

Goalkeepers: 

Mouez Hassen (Club Africain)

Aymen Dahmen (Al Hazem)

Bechir Ben Said (US Monastir).

Defenders: 

Hamza Jelassi (Etoile du Sahel)

Yassine Meriah (Esperance)

Alaa Ghram (Sfaxien)

Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly)

Yan Valery (Angers)

Ali Abdi (Caen)

Montassar Talbi (Lorient)

Wajdi Kechrida (Atromitos)

Oussama Haddadi (Greuther Furth).

Midfielders: 

Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Ferencvaros)

Anis Ben Slimane (󠁧󠁢Sheffield United)

Ellyes Skhiri (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Aissa Laidouni (Union Berlin)

Houssem Tka (Esperance)

Hadj Mahmoud (Lugano)

Hamza Rafia (Leece).

Forwards: 

Youssef Msakni (Al Arabi)

Haythem Jouini (Stade Tunisien)

Taha Yassine Khenissi (Kuwait SC)

Sayfallah Ltaief (Winterthur)

Bassem Srarfi (Club Africain)

Naim Sliti (Al Ahli)

Elias Achouri (FC Copenhagen)

Seifeddine Jaziri (Zamalek).

Surprise inclusions

Anis Ben Slimane in action against Arsenal – Photo by Icon sport

Sheffield United’s Anis Ben Slimane returns to Tunisia after missing the last two international breaks. The 22-year-old will slot into midfield.

Besides Slimane’s return, there are relatively few surprises in the Tunisian squad.

In form players

Ellyes Skhiri is not afraid to put a tackle in – Photo by Icon sport

Ellyes Skhiri has been an all-action presence in midfield for Eintracht Frankfurt this season, following a summer move from FC Koln. The 28-year-old covers some of the most ground of the league, makes plenty of tackles and is capable of popping up with crucial goals

 

In Italy, Hamza Rafia has been a key part of Lecce’s surprise ascent to 13th in the table. The 24-year-old is a robust, tough-tackling presence in midfield.

 

Tactical analysis

First up for Tunisia are Namibia. The only side in this group outside the top 100 of FIFA’s world rankings are certainly underdogs, but not without hope, as they beat Cameroon to top their qualifying group. Mamelodi Sundowns’ Peter Shalulile is the man to watch, as he is Namibia’s all-time top scorer.

Yves Bissouma will hope to bring his Spurs form to Mali's midfield – Photo by Icon sport

Second are Mali. The Eagles cruised through qualification and are the eighth highest ranked side at AFCON. With players all over Europe’s top leagues, Mali will be a serious challenge to Tunisia, and the winner of this game will likely top this group.

Tunisia will finish their group campaign against South Africa. Bafana Bafana were once one of the strongest sides on the continent, playing at the World Cup in 1998, 2002 and 2010. But since then, they have struggled to keep up with Africa’s other top sides and even failed to qualify for AFCON 2021. Expect Tunisia to defeat South Africa.

Current odds

The bookmakers consider Tunisia unlikely to repeat the heroics of 2004. As such, they are slated at 12/1 to win AFCON.

Tunisia AFCON trivia

Tunisia were the third side ever to appear at AFCON, in a 4-2 defeat to the United Arab Republic (now Egypt) in 1962.

Tunisia are ranked fourth in the all-time AFCON table

The Carthage Eagles hold the record for the most consecutive AFCON appearances with 16 (1994-2023)

Youssef Msakni could make history – Photo by Icon sport

Winger and captain Youssef Msakni could equal the record of appearing at six AFCON tournaments should he play at AFCON 2023.

The Tunisian national team’s roots can be traced back to 1928, when an unofficial side played France B, making them one of the most historic sides in Africa.

 


Avatar of William Evans
William Evans

William Evans is a football and politics fanatic. A first-class graduate of UEA's Broadcast and Digital Journalism MA course, he also achieved a first class degree in politics and media studies during his time at UEA.