By Victor Okoye
Tunisia’s Assistant Coach, Jalel Kadri, says they are battle-ready for the Round of 16 clash with Nigeria at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Sunday in Garoua.
Kadri who represented Head Coach Mondher Kebaier at a pre-match press conference on Saturday in Garoua said this was in spite of the lot of respect they have for Nigeria at the tournament.
The News Agency of Nigeria of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Sunday’s encounter between Nigeria and Tunisia will take place at the Stade Roumdé Adjia in Garoua from 8 p.m.
“We respect Nigeria, because they are a formidable side. But, as you know also, Tunisia are a side with a rich history in the AFCON. We thrive on collective effort and always have a positive mind-set.
“We have experienced players and the Nigerian team must also realise that they are meeting a battle-ready Tunisian team and we will do everything to ensure that we win the game.
“We are still ambitious and very hopeful. It is true that our strengths have been reduced, but it can happen to any team in football.
Kadri, whose team has also been ravaged by positive COVID-19 tests, said his team were going into the game against Nigeria with a positive mind-set.
As at late Saturday evening, there were no indications as to whether some of their star players, such as Wahbi Khazri, will return for the game.
“The COVID-19 virus has ravaged our team but we are hopeful that the players available can rise to the challenge.
“This situation was imposed on us and we have been forced to take some hard decisions on the field of play.
“It is not only about the players but also our technical staff, but we will try to manage the situation to ensure that victory goes to our side,” the coach said.
On the number of players affected by COVID-19 and those who have recovered, Kadri said there was no information about that at the moment.
He however added that the players available were ready to play.
“We do not yet have information about how many players will be available for the game as we are still waiting for the test results.
“We have 23 players that are ready and prepared to give their best against all odds.
“Technically speaking, we are ready, in spite of the difficult situation we have found ourselves. But we have to adapt.
“We have our principles as well as our strengths and weaknesses and know what it takes to confront our opponents,” the coach said.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)