African Cup of Nations - Factbox: Tunisia

Factbox on African Cup of Nations finalists Tunisia ahead of this year's tournament in South Africa from January 19 to February 10.

African Cup of Nations - Factbox: Tunisia

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Tunisia's Abdelkader Oueslati (R) fights for the ball with Switzerland's Behrami Valon (Reuters)

Previous appearances in African Cup of Nations finals: 15

Best performances: Winners in 2004; Runners-up in 1965 and 1996

FIFA world ranking December 2012: 45

Coach: Sami Trabelsi was a long-standing full-back for the Tunisia side, playing at three Nations Cup finals between 1996 and 2000 and at the 1998 World Cup in France. At the 1996 Nations Cup he competed in every game but then missed out on the final, which Tunisia lost to hosts South Africa. Trabelsi coached Tunisia's home-based players to victory at the 2011 African Nations Championship in Sudan and was then handed the national team job in March 2011.


Goalkeepers: 22-Moez Ben Cherifia (Esperance), 1-Farouk Ben Mustapha (CA Bizertin), 16-Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile Sahel)

Defenders: 20-Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse), 18-Anis Boussaidi (Tavria Simferopol), 12-Khalil Chammam (Esperance), 5-Chamseddine Dhaouadi (Etoile Sahel), 6-Fatah Garbi (CS Sfaxien), 3-Walid Hichri (Esperance), 2-Bilel Ifa (Club Africain)

Midfielders: 4-Hatten Baratli (Club Africain), 13-Wissem Ben Yahia (Mersin Idmanyurdu), 10-Oussama Darragi (FC Sion), 8-Chadi Hammami (Kuwait SC), 23-Wahbi Kharzi (Bastia), 21-Khaled Mouelhi (Esperance), 7-Youssef Msakni (Al Lekihwiya), 14-Mejdi Traoui (Esperance)

Forwards: 11-Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (CS Sfaxien), 15-Zouhair Dhaouadi (unattached), 9-Hamdi Harbaoui (Lokeren), 19-Saber Khlifa (Evian Thonon Gaillard), 17-Issam Jemaa (Kuwait SC).

Key players:

Issam Jemaa (Kuwait SC). Age: 28. Position: Forward. Tunisia's all-time top scorer with 32 goals who is heading to his fifth successive Nations Cup tournament. Jemaa won the Tunisian championship with Esperance in 2003 and 2004 before moving to France, where he played at Racing Lens, Caen, AJ Auxerre and Stade Brest. Last year he moved to Kuwait.

Aymen Abdennour (Toulouse). Age: 23. Position: Defender. Former captain of the U21 side, who was a firm favourite at Etoile Sahel before going on loan to Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga. Toulouse signed him in 2011 and such was their delight at his adaptation to Ligue 1 that they extended his contract to a four-year deal six months after his arrival. He started as a left wing, later played at left-back but is now used at a centre-back.

Youssef Msakni (Al Lekhwiya). Age: 22. Position: Midfielder. Has just signed a lucrative deal with Qatari club Al Lekhwiya after helping Esperance to reach two successive African Champions League finals. Tricky winger with an ability to glide past defenders but needs some more polish before fulfilling frequent predictions that he might become a real sensation.

Prospects: Tunisia are a consistent force at the finals but have won only once, when they hosted the finals in 2004. They will have fond memories of their last tournament in South Africa when they sent an under-23 side to the 1996 finals, which they used to prepare the team for the Atlanta Olympics, and were as stunned as the rest when the team finished runners-up.

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