Maaloul, Sassi called-up to Tunisia squad, Nagguez left out
Egypt-based Ali Maaloul and Ferjani Sassi have been called-up by the Tunisian national team for their games against Eswatini and Algeria.
The Eagles of Carthage have already secured their place in the 2019 AFCON as they currently sit top of their group with 12 points, ahead of Egypt on the head-to-head away goals scored.
Their final qualifier will be at home on February 22 against bottom-placed Eswatini, who have picked up only one point from five games. They will then face rivals Algeria in a friendly four days later.
Newly appointed manager Alain Giresse has decided to call-up Al Ahly’s left-back Ali Maaloul and Zamalek midfielder Ferjani Sassi for the two games, while leaving out the Whites’ right-back Hamdi Nagguez.
Maaloul is having an excellent season with Al Ahly, scoring five goals while assisting nine in 20 games this season, despite missing ten games due to injury.
Meanwhile, Ferjani Sassi has been one of Zamalek’s most consistent players this season, helping the whites top the league table thanks to his six goals and three assists in 18 games.
Goalkeeper Moez Hassen has also returned to the squad for the first time since his shoulder injury against England in the World Cup, while the squad also saw the return of Youssef Msakni.
“We must take into consideration what Msakni represents to the national team,” Giresse told BBC Sport.
“He suffered a serious injury, but has now recovered. We must give him the opportunity to get back up to speed and know that the team is expecting great things from him.
“This is a preliminary list, but 80-90% of the players on it will be representing Tunisia at the Cup of Nations,” Giresse said.
“I cannot give an exact percentage. It’s up to the players to give their best performance and show determination that they want to be representing their team at the AFCON,” the Frenchman added.
Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Hassan, Ayman Mathlouthi.
Defenders: Wajdi Kechrida, Mohamed Drager, Larry Azzouni, Rami Bedoui, Yessine Meriah, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Ali Maaloul, Oussama Haddadi.
Midfielders: Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Elyess Skhiri, Aymen Ben Mohamed, Ferjeni Sassi, Bilel Saidani.
Strikers: Naim Sliti, Anice Badri, Seifeddine Khaoui, Bassem Srarfi, Wahbi Khazri, Taha Yassine Khnissi, Youssef Msakni, Firas Chouat, Yessine Chamakhi.
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