Tu­nisia: Ele­phants have faults

IVORY COAST: ‘Things will re­turn to nor­mal for Ivo­rian foot­ball’

Weekend Witness - - Sport -

RUSTEN­BURG — Di­dier Drogba’s Ivory Coast are flawed and can be beaten, Tu­nisia coach Sami Tra­belsi sug­gested yes­ter­day, on the eve of the teams’ Africa Cup of Na­tions Group D meet­ing.

“They are a side with lots of qual­i­ties, but they have also shown quite a few faults,” Tra­belsi told a press con­fer­ence.

“They are not un­beat­able. They cer­tainly have the best play­ers in Africa, and I don’t know why they haven’t man­aged to claim the ti­tle for so many years.

“The fact that they haven’t man­aged to achieve that means there are faults some­where.”

Tra­belsi con­tin­ued: “They’ve got lots of qual­i­ties, lots of ex­pe­ri­ence, lots of pa­tience in their game, but also faults — they showed that in their first game (a 2-1 win over Togo).

“But all the same as a ri­val you have to be wary of them. Th­ese in­di­vid­u­als can, at any moment, turn a match.”

Tra­belsi said that his team’s open­ing 1-0 win over Al­ge­ria was “im­por­tant but not de­ci­sive”.

“I hope that we tackle the coming games with a lot more se­ri­ous­ness, with much bet­ter foot­ball. We feel other coun­tries here have played bet­ter in their sec­ond game, and we hope to do the same.” The Tu­nisian boss then com­mented on the loss of striker Is­sam

Je­maa, who is out of con­tention for the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion af­ter sus­tain­ing a knee in­jury in the opener.

“Is­sam is a very im­por­tant player for us, but we have en­vis­aged re­place­ment so­lu­tions. I hope there will be some [Tu­nisian] rev­e­la­tions at this Na­tions Cup.”

As for the Ivory Coast, favourites once again to lift the ti­tle af­ter years of heartache, their coach Sabri Lamouchi said he was hop­ing to see an­other side from his stars af­ter their mis­tak­erid­dled open­ing win.

“If we put up the same per­for­mance, the Tu­nisians will do their best not to make the same er­rors as Togo.

“I en­vis­age a dif­fi­cult game and, above all, a dif­fer­ent dis­play from the Ele­phants.

“I didn’t recog­nise my play­ers, and they didn’t recog­nise them­selves [against Togo].

“That wasn’t what I see ev­ery day in train­ing.”

He added: “But I’m con­vinced things will re­turn to nor­mal. I’m not too wor­ried, I know my play­ers, we are all aware that the way we played last Tues­day was not rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Ivo­rian foot­ball.”

Turn­ing his at­ten­tion to Tu­nisia, he com­mented: “They de­fended stoutly and were ef­fi­cient in at­tack. They are a team sure of their play, with a strong de­fence.

“We are warned, we are fac­ing one of the best teams at this Na­tions Cup ...” — Sapa-AFP.

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