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Page last updated at 12:36 GMT, Sunday, 15 November 2009

Tunisia blame pitch and heat

By Piers Edwards
BBC Sport, Maputo

Karim Haggui
Tunisia captain Karim Haggui said conditions were too tough for the team

Tunisia coach Humberto Coelho says the difficult conditions in Mozambique were the reason his side failed to qualify for the World Cup.

The Carthage Eagles lost 1-0 in Maputo, a result which meant Nigeria's 3-2 victory in Kenya took the West Africans to South Africa 2010.

Tunisia struggled in the stifling heat and failed to adapt to the Machava Stadium's artificial surface.

"It was very difficult to play in these circumstances," Coelho told BBC Sport.

"My players, especially in the second half, had many problems physically because it was very difficult."

Captain Karim Haggui agreed that the team struggled physically.

"We had problems with the heat and the pitch, because we're not used to playing on such a surface and it was over 30 degrees as well," the defender told the BBC.

The home side, in contrast, were well prepared for playing a match of such intensity, because Mambas coach Mart Nooij had devised his own special preparations.

Tunisia fans
Tunisian fans watched in disbelief as their team failed in Maputo

"All visitors to Maputo misjudge the circumstances here," the Dutchman told BBC Sport.

"This artificial surface gives a lot of temperature to players' shoes and knees, and the feet boil like boiling potatoes.

"Since Monday, we've been sleeping - and suffering - without air conditioning, which is why my players didn't suffer during the match."

In a game which Tunisia needed to win to be sure of reaching the World Cup finals, the visitors failed to force Mozambican keeper Kapango into a decent save.

Instead, most of the action came from Mozambique, whose victory takes them to their first Nations Cup since 1998.

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see also
Nigeria qualify for the World Cup
14 Nov 09 |  African
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
African World Cup qualifiers
14 Nov 09 |  African
Final 2010 places up for grabs
13 Nov 09 |  African
Nooij seeks Tunisia scalp
09 Nov 09 |  African

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