List for June Qualifiers Announced: Lemerre Opts for Youth and Potential
“Wow”, that’s all I could say when I saw the list Roger Lemerre announced today for our June Qualifiers. Usually that’s a bad sign because it means he pulled some crazy ish. We have all heard his justifications that only he understands. This time, It was a good wow though as, overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the omissions and additions. Maybe he’s trying to atone for his sins before he leaves or something? Not sure if I’m ready to give him that much credit but the effort is noted.
Goalies: Hamdi Kasraoui (E.S. Tunis), Aymen Mathlouthi (E.S. Sahel), Adel Nefzi (Club Africain)
Defenders: Radhouane Felhi (E.S. Sahel), Radhi Jaidi (Birmigham City), Karim Saidi (Sivasspor), Seif Ghezel (B.S.C Young Boys), Souheil Berradhia (E.S. Sahel), Saber Ben Fraj (Le Mans), Yassine Mikari (Grasshoppers), Fateh Gharbi (CSS)
Midfielders: Mohammed Ali Nafkha (E.S. Sahel), Mejdi Traoui (E.S. Sahel), Kamel Zaiem (E.S.Tunis), Tijani Belaid (Sparta Prague), Chaouki Ben Saada (Bastia F.C), Wissem Ben Yahia (Club Africain), Zouahaier Dhaouadi (Club Africain), Chaker Zouaghi (Lokomotiv Moscow), Jawher Mnari (Nuremberg), Oussama Darragi (E.S. Tunis)
Strikers: Mehdi Ben Dhifallah (E.S. Sahel), Mohammed Amine Chermiti (E.S. Sahel), Youssef Mouihbi (Club Africain), Hichem Essifi (USMO), Issam Jemaa (SM Caen)
Hard to believe right? Not sure what dawned on him but here is what I take away from this:
1. Incorporating some novelty: Oussama Darragi and Hichem Essifi are two new faces in the team. Darragi has always had potential but lately he’s been tearing it up with Esperance, scoring headers left and right. Plus he’s got good technique and a decent shot. I’m not an expert on Essifi but I’ve always enjoyed the US Monastir’s attractive footbal, so seeing a player come out of their ranks is very positive.
2. Club Africain players finally worthy: It was about time! Not so long ago CA fans were singing expletive laden songs about Lemerre because he overlooked their players consistently, no matter how they were playing. Taking Adel Nefzi doesn’t really count because most people care about the outfield players who will represent their team. Therefore, the incorporation of Wissem Ben Yahia, Youssef Mouihbi, and Zouhaier Dhaouadi should put that issue to bed. It’s not like he’s doing them a favor or anything, they are on the verge of a title and they’ve shown that they deserve a place in the team through their individual and collective performances.
3. Keeping the key elements from Ghana: Etoile du Sahel lost a few players in the list but they still have the biggest contingent, with eight players representing them. All of them, with the exceptions of the ever excellent Souheil Berradhia and Mohammed Ali Nafkha, went to the African Cup and that experience should prove useful on their upcoming African travels.
4. No Dos Santos but Mnari present: I have to say that I was expecting our Brazilian born striker to be in the list. Not because I wanted him to be but just because Lemerre has always shown stubbornness when it came to our all time leading scorer. In top form, Dos Santos is a shoo in but when he doesn’t have his legs under him, it’s like playing a man down all game. Also, I didn’t think Mnari would make the team because he’s been sitting on the bench with the now relegated Nurnberg. If he’s fit, I have no issues with his selection.
Best of luck to our boys! I’m feeling the mix. Our problems recently don’t have much to do with players though. We showed in Ghana that we have a promising group. Hopefully the FTF will get it’s act together to complement our talent on the field (not too optimistic about that actually happening but I guess I can dream). The last thing we want is to regret Lemerre’s departure once July 1st comes around. Unfortunately, that’s the direction we’re headed in presently…
Did anyone get snubbed from this list that you really wanted to see?
Three of these players will not make the final team. The decision of which three will leave will be taken after the training camp.
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