Roster for Basque Country and Catalonia is out
Sami Trabelsi released his 25-man roster for our friendlies against Basque Country on December 28 and Catalonia on December 30 at a press conference in Tunis today. The main surprise is undoubtedly the absence of Lassad. The Depo striker has been in fine form this season but continues to be overlooked by our coach.
Since he’s Spain-based, you’d imagine that it would have been pretty easy for him to make these friendlies to offer a glimpse of what we’ve been missing out on. In previous interviews, Trabelsi pointed to the player’s shyness as one of the main obstacles to prior attempts of including him in the NT. Frankly, that’s not a convincing excuse to keep him out while he’s scoring goals on a weekly basis.
Other notable absences are that of our German contingent (Haggui, Jemal, and Allagui) whose clubs all refused to release them for fear of seeing them injured as a result fatigue from fixture accumulation. They’ll almost surely be with us for the Dubai-based training camp where we’ll face Sudan on January 9 and Cote D’Ivoire on January 13. And should those plans for through, we reportedly have matches against Libya and Uganda to fall back on in Tunis. Not sure if the same can be said about Houcine Ragued, who also was prevented from joining by his Turkish side. He’s not assured of a spot based on his recent performances for us.
Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha (CA Bizertin), Rami Jeridi (Stade Tunisien), Moez Ben Cherifia (Esperance), Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile)
Defenders: Anis Boussaidi (FC Rostov), Mohamed Ali Yaakoubi (Club Africain), Fateh Gharbi (CS Sfaxien), Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse), Walid Hichri (Esperance), Bilel Ifa (Club Africain), Khalil Chammam (Esperance)
Midfielders: Adel Chedly (Etoile), Jamel Saihi (Montpellier), Iheb Msakni (Stade Tunisien), Khaled Korbi (Esperance), Wissem Ben Yahia (Mersin), Zouhaier Dhaouadi (Club Africain), Yassine Chikhaoui (Zurich), Ousamma Darragi (Esperance), Majdi Traoui (Esperance), Youssef Msakni (Esperance)
Strikers: Lamjed Chehoudi (Etoile), Amine Chermiti (Zurich), Saber Khelifa (Evian), Issam Jemaa (Auxerre)
Back in the team are our Esperance contingent as well as Aymen Mathlouthi who is just coming back from injury. That means we have four goalkeepers on this trip, a departure from the usual three. I think Ben Cherifia should get a start in one of the four upcoming games but you get the feeling that it’s either going to be Mathlouthi or Jeridi between the goalposts in Gabon. Not sure if it’s the right call but based on Trabelsi’s history, that’s how I see it going.
Mohamed Ali Yaakoubi is the main beneficiary of Jemal and Haggui’s absence. The Club Africain centre-back has received his first call-up the national team and will be looking to make the most of it. Aside from solid defending, he’s scored some important goals for the Biancorosso this season. It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts but it’ll probably be a stretch for him to make it to the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
In other news
Tarak Dhiab is Tunisia’s new Minister of Sports. Remember when he did this to Abdallah Kaabi? Times have changed.
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