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Monday, 11 November, 2002, 10:49 GMT
Lemerre announces Tunisia squad
Former French coach Roger Lemerre
Roger Lemerre is preparing Tunisia for CAN 2004
Roger Lemerre has played his first hand as the new coach of Tunisia, naming a squad for the friendly again Egypt later this month and speaking of his plans for the team.

The former French coach, who last month agreed to take the Tunisian side through to their hosting of the African Nations Cup finals in 2004, takes charge of his first international in a friendly in Tunis on 20 November.

Lemerre announced a squad with the surprise exclusion of four foreign-based players.

They are influential midfielder Riadh Bouazizi of Gaziantepspor and the Genoa trio of Raouf Bouazaine, Hassan Gabsi and Imed Mhadhebi.

Defender Radhi Jaidi is left out because of injury.

Midfielder Riadh Bouazizi of Turkey's Gaziantepspor
Bouazizi is out
There is also a recall for Mehdi Nafti, who played under Henri Michel at the Nations Cup finals in Mali but was ignored for the trip to the World Cup in June.

Major worries

Lemerre told journalists of his early preparation plans for the Nations Cup finals, including a confirmed friendly against Sweden in Tunis in February and a possible fixture against China in January.

He also said he would seek to persuade David Jemmali to play.

The Bordeaux defender was born in France to Tunisian parents but has so far shunned invitations to play for the north African country.

Lemerre warned that the lack of competitive matches for Tunisia was a major concern.

"There is a big difference between an official game and a friendly," he said.

"There is not the same kind of motivation. That is fundamental for a player. Aime Jacquet told me how difficult it would be to prepare for the World Cup without having to qualify first and he was right."

Lemerre was fired as coach of France after their dismal first round exit at the World Cup finals.

He had been coach since 1998, taking over from Jacquet after France won the World Cup on home soil.

Tunisia Squad:
Goalkeepers: Khaled Azaiez (Club Africain), Hassen Bejaoui (Stade Tunisien), Ali Boumnijel (Bastia, France)
Defenders: Wissem Abdi (CS Sfaxien), Khaled Badra, Moyin Chaabani (both Esperance), Anis Boujelbene (CS Sfaxien), Hamdi Marzouki (Stade Tunisien), Mohamed Mkacher (Etoile Sahel), Ramzi Toujani (CS Sfaxien), Hatem Trabelsi (Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands), Kais Zouaghi (Etoile Sahel)
Midfielders: Slim Benachour (Paris St Germain, France), Anis Boussaidi (Stade Tunisien), Maher Kanzari, Mourad Melki, Jaohar Mnari (all Esperance), Mehdi Nafti (Racing Santander, Spain), Oussama Sellami, Mohamed Selliti (both Stade Tunisien)
Strikers: Imed Ben Younes (CS Sfaxien), Ziad Jaziri (Etoile Sahel), Ali Zitouni (Esperance)

See also:

25 Sep 02 | Africa
19 Sep 02 | Africa
Links to more Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


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