Our Arabs at AfCON profiles continue. This time it’s the Carthage Eagles of Tunisia! And in case you’ve missed it, you can read our first profile about neighbors and group-rivals, Algeria, right here.
Tunisia’s name was forever engraved into football history books in 1978. A little under half a century after Egypt became the first African country to qualify to the world cup, Tunisia became the first African side to win a game at the world cup, beating Mexico 3-1 in Argentina. In the late 90’s and early noughties, they qualified to three world cups in a row (98 – ’06) and they were also the only Arab-African side in South Korea/Japan in 2002, and Germany in 2006.
However, things haven’t been great lately: their recent history at the AfCON has been quite underwhelming. Since they’ve last won the competition in 2004 (another accolade to the incredible period they lived through in the first half of the noughties), they’ve progressed no further than the Quarter-final in their last 6 appearances. They haven’t qualified to either of the last 2 world cups either, and have been going through coaches at an astonishing rate for international football, 5 in the last 4 years.
With a squad that primarily plays in the domestic league and no discernible names in it, this feels pretty grim. Add to it that they’re in the same group as neighbors Algeria! A red-hot derby from the get-go and you have a recipe for, well, perhaps disaster, but maybe, just maybe, an underdog story. Tunisia will have to play with their backs to the wall, but that’s what makes fairy-tales! And if Tunisia wants a film made about the time they did the impossible, then that’s exactly what they should be anticipating: Overcome the odds, and have your name written in alongside the greats of ’78 and ’04!
Stay tuned for more stories from AfCON right here on Barakabits. Sneak peak for next round? It’s the Atlas Lions.
Don’t forget to leave a smile!