Tunisia set eyes on Morocco victory
LIBREVILLE - Agence France-Presse
Tunisian players are seen during a training session ahead of the Morocco match.Tunisia is plotting to come out on top against Morocco for a third time in a major international competition when the two sides meet in Monday’s Maghreb derby at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Tunisia came out on top when it defeated neighboring Morocco in the final at the 2004 Nations Cup final on home turf, and again when they denied the Moroccans’ a place at the 2006 World Cup by finishing top of their qualifying group.
Tunisia’s captain Karim Haggui, speaking at the team hotel in the Gabon capital on Sunday, said: “It’s only normal they (Morocco) see this as a chance for revenge, we beat them and won the title in 2004 and then came out on top in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup.”
The Hannover defender who was part of then coach Roger Lemerre’s 2004 Cup winning side, added: “Tunisia have the advantage because we are the ones who have won at the big championships. This is our chance to continue that tradition. “Of course winning the title in 2004 was important, but that’s history, we have a new generation now, we want to write a new page in our history.”
Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi was anxious not to overstate the importance of today’s meeting between two sides fancied to make it into the quarterfinals from a Group C that also includes co-host Gabon and first-timer Niger. “The Morocco game is very important, but it won’t be decisive. The games between the two countries are special, they know us, we know them, I hope we get the result we’re looking for.”
Tunisia and Morocco are based in the same hotel on the Libreville waterfront, a sign of the friendly rapport and mutual respect that exists between them.
Morocco coach Eric Gerets is predicting yet another tight encounter at the L’Amitie stadium, the Belgian observing: “It’s all about the team that’s better prepared, the one that has better discipline. Tunisia have lots of talented players, they are a very good team, but I have a good team too.”