Skip to main content Text Only version of this page
BBC
Home
TV
Radio
Talk
Where I Live
A-Z Index
BBC Sport World Cup 2002

 You are in: Team Pages: Tunisia  
Front Page
Statistics
Team Pages
Features
Other News
Sports Talk
TV/Radio Coverage
Photo Galleries
Venues Guide
Matches Wallchart
World Cup Greats
History
Quiz

BBC Sport

BBC News

BBC Weather


Click on a name for more detailed team information:

Argentina
Belgium
Brazil
Cameroon
China
Costa Rica
Croatia
Denmark
Ecuador
England
France
Germany
Italy
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Paraguay
Poland
Portugal
Rep of Ireland
Russia
Saudi Arabia
Senegal
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Tunisia
Turkey
USA
Uruguay

Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 10:32 GMT 11:32 UK
Baya ready to rally Eagles
Tunisia's Zoubier Baya (left)
Midfield playmaker Baya seeks to inspire his team
separator
space

Henri Michel's untimely resignation as coach of Tunisia has, to put it simply, left the Carthage Eagles in an almighty mess.

The Frenchman's departure, two months after a toothless display at the African Nations Cup and just two months before the North Africans' second consecutive trip to the World Cup finals, could not have come at a worse time.

Open Quote
Our first game against Russia will be very critical for us - if we manage to get three points, then the second round will be not a problem
Close Quote
Zoubier Baya

And the temporary appointment of former assistants Ammar Souyah and Khemaies Laabidi to replace Michel and his assistant Albert Rust smacks of little more than desperation.

Against such a backdrop, much depends on the senior players in the squad.

They desperately need to stand up and be counted if Tunisia are to avoid a repeat of France 98, when they tamely exited the finals in the first round.

One man above all, carries the hopes of a nation with him to Japan and South Korea - the talismanic figure of Besiktas playmaker and national team skipper Zoubier Baya.

The attacking midfielder, who also has Bundesliga experience with Freiburg, is a hot property in the Turkish first division and may well be Tunisia's best chance of avoiding total humiliation in the summer.

The 30-year-old is, at least, well aware of his responsibilities.

Pitched into a group that includes hosts Japan, Russia and Belgium, Baya is well aware that, first and foremost, he has to hold his team together.

Tunisia's Zoubier Baya
Baya plays for Besiktas in the Turkish first division

"Our country's strength is that we have a very disciplined mentality," he said. "Our friendship and spirit within the team is crucial. That is what can make Tunisia strong."

And, despite the fact that Tunisia crashed out of the African Nations Cup at the first hurdle without scoring a goal, and that the following two friendlies (against South Korea and Norway) both ended 0-0, Baya is surprisingly upbeat.

"Our group is very equal," he said. "All the four countries are very strong, but even.

"Our first game against Russia will be very critical for us. If we manage to get three points from that game then the second round will be not a problem. That is our aim."

Such confident words suggest Baya is already assuming the mantle of inspirational leader in the wake of Michel's departure.

Indeed, there is a school of thought that suggests the former France, Cameroon and Morocco coach's resignation could have a positive effect on Tunisia's World Cup fortunes.

And if there is to be a post-Michel revival, Baya will undoubtedly be at the forefront.

His vast European experience and wily tactical brain will be crucial in ensuring Tunisia do not once again become World Cup whipping boys.

INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
TOP STORIES FROM
TUNISIA
 TEAMS
 TUNISIA
Full coverage:
News and
features
Lineker's verdict
Statistics pages
World Cup so far
Have Your Say
 SQUAD PROFILES

 RESULTS/REPORTS

GROUP H
  P GD PTS
JAPAN 3 +3 7
BELGIUM 3 +1 5
RUSSIA 3 0 3
TUNISIA 3 -4 1

 WATCH/LISTEN
 BBC SPORT BULLETINS
 OUR BEST AUDIO
More Audio/Video




© BBC ^ Back to top

Front Page | Statistics | Team Pages | Features | Other News | Sports Talk | TV/Radio Coverage | Photo Galleries | Venues Guide | Matches Wallchart | World Cup Greats | History | Quiz

BBC Sport >> | BBC News >> | BBC Weather >>
BBC World Service >> | BBC Radio Five Live >>
© MMII | News Sources | Privacy