The Tunisian national team have suffered a big blow ahead of their AFCON 2021 round of 16 clash against the Super Eagles of Nigeria on Sunday as 12 of their players are reported to have tested positive for COVID-19.
Tunisia qualified for the second round as one of the best losers with three points after losing two of their Group F matches including an embarrassing 1-0 loss to debutants, Gambia.
Head coach, Mondher Kebaier has also tested positive to throw the Carthage Eagles camp into disarray with his assistant, Jalal Al-Qadri taking up media duties on Saturday.
Jalal Al-Qadri confirmed that the captain of the team, Wahbi Khazri, and eleven others have contracted Covid-19 and they won’t be available to face Nigeria.
He, however, boasted that despite the Covid-19 crisis, Tunisia are not scared of Nigeria and they are ready to beat the Augustine Eguavoen-led side.
“Our team has been ravaged by COVID, most of our team members and officials have contracted the disease,” he reported.
Not giving up anyway, the coach concluded, “Despite that, we are ready for Nigeria. We know they are a big team, we cannot be cowed. We will fight them and see that victory is ours.”
The 12 Tunisian players who tested positive are Wahbi Khazri, Aissa Laidouni, Dylan Bronn, Ghaylène Chaalali, Ellyes Skhiri, Anis Ben Slimane, Mohamed Romdhane, Ali Maâloul, Ben Hmida, Aymen Dahmen Yoann Touzgha and Issam Jebali.
The Super Eagles on the other hand have no injury worries or Covid-19 scare as they gear up for the business end of the competition having finished top of Group D with maximum points.
The last time both teams met was at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations third-place match which ended 1-0 in favour of Nigeria courtesy of a goal by Odion Ighalo.
The match is billed for the Roumdé Adjia Stadium, Garoua 10 pm Ugandan time.