Saudi Arabia-based striker left out of Tunisia World Cup squad

Saudi Arabia-based striker left out of Tunisia World Cup squad
Tunisia's coach Nabil Maaloul has made some tough calls when naming his 23-man squad. (AFP)
Updated 03 June 2018

Saudi Arabia-based striker left out of Tunisia World Cup squad

Saudi Arabia-based striker left out of Tunisia World Cup squad
  • Al-Ittihad's Ahmed Akaichi will not be going to Russia
  • But four other Saudi-based players are in the 23-man party

Al-Ittihad's Ahmed Akaichi was one of six players left out of Nabil Maaloul's squad when the Tunisia coach whittled down his provisional list to 23 for the World Cup.
Akaichi, 29, has won 19 caps for his country but he last started a game in March last year and has played only three minutes of the last nine matches.
"Good luck to my friends in the World Cup in Russia... Long live Tunisia!" Akaichi wrote on his Facebook page.
In addition to Akaichi and goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia, of Esperance, Maaloul omitted Khalil Chammam of Esperance, Bilel Mohsni who plays for Dundee United in Scotland, Karim Laribi of Cesena in Italy and Mohamed Larbi of Tours in France.
Four players based in Saudi Arabia have made the squad, however. Al-Batin's Aymen al-Mathlouthi is one of three goalkeepers; Mohamed Amine Ben Amore, who finished runners in the Saudi Pro League with Al-Ahli, is among the midfielders along with Al-Nassr's Ferjani Sassi while Al-Ettifaq's Fakheredine Ben Youssef provides one of six options in attack.
Tunisia's football federation announced the squad a day after the team drew 2-2 in a friendly against Turkey, with goals from Anice Badri and Ferjani Sassi. That is now nine matches unbeaten for Tunisia and the last time they tasted defeat was in March last year.
Tunisia are in Group G in Russia play England June 18, Belgium June 23 and Panama June 28.
The team will play a final warm-up match on June 9 against Spain, the 2010 world champions.
The star of the Tunisian team, Youssef Msakni, will miss the World Cup due to knee an injury sustained in a league match for Qatari club Al-Duhail.
The 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Aymen al-Mathlouthi (Al-Batin/KSA), Mouez Hassen (Chateauroux/FRA), Farouk Ben Mustapha (Al-Shabab/KSA)
Defenders: Nagguez Hamdi(Zamalek/EGY), Dylan Bronn (Gent/BEL), Rami Bedoui (Etoile du Sahel), Yohan Benalouane(Leicester/ENG), Syam Ben Youssef (Kasimpasa/TUR), Yassine Meriah (CS Sfaxien), Oussama Haddadi (Dijon/FRA), Ali Maaloul (Al-Ahly/EGY)
Midfielders: Ellyes Skhiri (Montpellier/FRA), Mohamed Amine Ben Amore (Al-Ahli/KSA), Ghaylene Chaalali (Esperance), Ferjani Sassi (Al-Nassr/KSA), Ahmed Khalil (Club Africain), Saifeddine El Khaoui (Troyes/FRA)
Strikers: Fakheredine Ben Youssef (Al-Ettifaq/KSA), Anice Badri (Esperance), Bassem Srarfi (Nice/FRA), Wahbi Khazri (Rennes/FRA), Naim Sliti (Dijon/FRA), Saber Khalifa (Club Africain)