AFCON 2021: Tunisia Hit by Massive Blow Ahead of Final Group Match

Tunisia players posing for a photo before a match at the Afcon 2021
Tunisia players posing for a photo before a match at the Afcon 2021.

Tunisia’s chances of reaching the last 16 at Afcon were dealt a major blow as12 of their players tested positive for Covid-19.

This comes just a day before their final group stage fixture. Tunisia now only has 16 players at their disposal to play ahead of their grudge match against top of the table Gambia.

The 2004 African Champion, only need to avoid defeat to reach the round of 16 stage but with key players missing, that could be a tough task.

“On Wednesday evening the players took part in a training session with 16 players present and the rest absent due to Covid-19 contamination,” the federation said on its social media.

Captain Wahbi Khazri, who scored two goals in his country's 4-0 win over Mauritania on Sunday and set up another, is among seven players who have tested positive.

Defender Ali Maaloul and midfielder Ghaylene Chaalali, who both started against the Mourabitounes, will also be missing along with Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane, Mohamed Amine Ben Hamida and goalkeepers Aymen Dahmen and Ali Jemal.

The Northern Africans are hoping they will see the return of five players who had tested positive for Covid-19 at the start of the tournament ahead of their fixture on Thursday night.

Tunisia suffered an opening game 1-0 defeat to Mali but responded with a 4-0 thrashing of Mauritania in their second game.

The Carthage Eagles need at least a point against The Gambia to have a chance to progress as one of four best third-placed sides, while victory would secure a spot in the last 16.

Head coach Mondher Kebaier will have a lot of thinking to do if he and his side are able to achieve the required result without the country’s second top goal scorer in Wahbi Khazri.