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Penpix of Tunisia's World Cup squad

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May 29, 2006 20:52 IST
Tunisia's squad for the World Cup finals in Germany comprises the following 23 players:

(Statistics up to and including May 25 2006)


1-Ali Boumnijel (Club Africain). Born: 13.4.66 Caps: 47 Goals: 0

At 40, he is likely to be the oldest competitor at the World Cup finals in Germany, having also played in the last two tournaments in France and Japan. Spent most of his career at Gueugnon and Bastia in France but moved to Tunisia last year.

22-Hamdi Kasraoui (Esperance). Born: 18.1.83 Caps: 5 Goals: 0.

The Olympic team goalkeeper who is usually called up to the national squad despite the fact that he plays as the reserve at his club to Ivory Coast international Jean-Jacques Tizie. Had one game at the recent African Nations Cup finals in Egypt.

16-Adel Nefzi (US Monastir). Born: 16.3.74. Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Surprise late choice by coach Roger Lemerre, after a season in which his unfashionable club side finished fifth in the league and qualified for next season's Arab Champions League. Nefzi has been called up before but never played in the national side.


19-Anis Ayari (Samsunspor, Turkey). Born 16.2.82 Caps: 23 Goals: 1

Had a fruitful 2004, playing in Tunisia's African Nations Cup winning squad and then going with the under-23 side to the Olympic Games in Athens. Primarily a defender but has also been utilised as a midfielder by his Turkish club.

3-Karim Hagui (Racing Strasbourg, France). Born: 20.1.84 Caps: 26 Goals: 4

Strong defender who made his international debut two years ago. Started his career at Etoile Sahel but moved to Racing Strasbourg in France in 2004 after Tunisia's success in the African Nations Cup, where Hagui played in all six matches that the Tunisians took to win a first title.

15-Radhi Jaidi (Bolton Wanderers, England). Born: 30.8.75 Caps: 87 Goals: 5

Won almost every honour in African continental competition with Esperance, who finally let him go to Europe at the age of 29. Hailed by Bolton manager Sam Allardyce as one of the best headers of the ball he has ever coached.

18-David Jemmali (Girondins Bordeaux, France). Born: 13.12.74 Caps: 1 Goals: 0

First approached by Tunisia 10 years ago to play but only agreed this March to throw in his international career with the north Africans and made his debut in a friendly against Serbia. His father was born in Sousse but Jemmali in Toulouse, France.

7-Mehdi Meriah (Etoile Sahel). Born: 5.6.79 Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Moved to the Tunisian league runners-up in January this year from US Monastir and is a back-up choice for Lemerre at left back, preferred to the Brazilian-born Clayton. Also played for Club Africain at the start of his career.

21-Karim Saidi (Lecce, Italy). Born: 24.3.83 Caps: 14 Goals: 0

Central defender who made a major impression at Dutch club Feyenoord last season but was unable to hold down a first-team place in the current campaign and moved to Lecce. Won his first cap while still on the books of Club Africain.

6-Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands). Born: 25.1.77 Caps: 55 Goals: 0

Flying right back whose attacking forays up the flanks are a major part of Tunisia's attacking armoury. His contract ends at Ajax Amsterdam in June and a high profile move to England or Italy is predicted.

4-Alaeddine Yahia (St Etienne, France). Born: 26.9.81 Caps: 12 Goals: 0

Squad member at the 2004 African Nations Cup finals but his club did not release him for the 2006 event. Another of the numerous French-born players in the squad. Had a brief and unsuccessful spell at Southampton in the English premier league.


13-Riadh Bouazizi (Erciyespor, Turkey). Born: 8.4.73 Caps: 83 Goals: 4

Vastly experienced midfielder who has served as captain of the side. Has played at two World Cup finals tournaments and been to the Africa Nations Cup finals on six occasions.

14-Adel Chedli (FC Nuremburg, Germany). Born 16.9.76 Caps: 36 Goals: 4

A former French junior international, he was illegally used by Tunisia on his debut in 1996 but his status was later cleared when FIFA changed their rules on international eligibility. Played a tough-man role at this year's African Nations Cup finals in Egypt.

10-Kaies Ghodhbane (Konyaspor, Turkey). Born 7.1.76 caps: 80 Goals: 6

Veteran midfielder who still plays a major role in the squad with his tireless running. Played in two World Cups and six African Nations Cup finals for his country and has played club football in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

23-Sofiene Melliti (Gaziantepsor, Turkey). Born 18.8.78 caps: 13 Goals: 1

His appearance in November's victory over Egypt in a friendly international was his first cap since September 2000 when he played against Kenya in an African Nations Cup qualifier. Made his international debut just after his 20th birthday in 1998.

12-Joahar Mnari (FC Nuremburg, Germany). Born 8.11.76 Caps: 35 Goals: 1

Played in all six matches in 2004 when Tunisia won the African Nations Cup title but his star has faded since a move to the Bundesliga where limited appearances in the Nuremburg first team have threatened his place in the Tunisia line-up. Won two league championships with Esperance in Tunisia before moving to Germany.  

8-Medhi Nafti (Birmingham City, England). Born 28.11.78 Caps: 27 Goals: 1

French-born midfielder who has recovered from a season-long injury just in time to make it to the World Cup. Missed all but 19 minutes of the relegation-doomed season for Birmingham City.

20-Hamed Namouchi (Glasgow Rangers, Scotland). Born 14.2.84 caps: 13 Goals: 0

French-born midfielder who had trials at Chelsea as a teenager before signing for Glasgow Rangers in Scotland in 2003. Debuted for Tunisia last year and strong performances in recent matches have catapulted him into the team's engine room.


9-Yassine Chikhaoui (Etoile Sahel). Born 22.9.86 Caps: 0 Goals: 0

Teenage striker promoted from the Olympic side in place of the injured Hayekl Guemmadia. Helped his side to finish second in the Tunisian championship this season.

11-Francileudo dos Santos (Toulouse, France). Born 20.3.79 Caps: 27 Goals: 17

Was offered citizenship on the basis of just two years of football at Etoile Sahel in Sousse from 1998 to 2000 and has proved his worth with a potent goal return for the Tunisians over the last 24 months. Hails originally from Sampaio Correa in Brazil and has also played in Belgium and for Sochaux in France.

2-Karim Essediri (Rosenborg, Norway). Born 29.7.79. Caps: 5 Goals: 0

Moved from Club Africain to Norway in 2001, where he has played at Bodo/Glimt and Tromso before a move to Rosenborg in January. Played a rare match in the recent friendly against Serbia and Montenegro in March.

5-Ziad Jaziri (Troyes, France). Born 12.7.78. Caps: 59 Goals: 13

Scorer of the winning goal in the 2004 African Nations Cup final for Tunisia. Started in all three of Tunisia's matches at the last World Cup finals but will battle to get a berth in the first 11 in Germany given increased opposition for places.

17-Issam Jomaa (Racing Lens, France). Born 28.1.84. Caps: 10 Goals: 1

Left-footed striker who made a quick impact at Esperance in the Tunisian league last season and was transferred to France in August. Made his debut in the World Cup tie against Botswana in June.

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