Wahbi Khazri of Tunisia evades tackle from Charles Kabore of Burkina Faso during the 2017 African Cup of Nations Finals Afcon quarterfinal football match between Burkina Faso and Tunisia at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon on 28 January 2017 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Thursday Oct 05, 2017. 09:00
Guinea will be looking to thwart Tunisia’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup when the teams meet for their penultimate Group A match at the Stade du 28 Septembre on Saturday, kick-off at 19h00 CAT.
The North Africans hold a three-point advantage over nearest challengers DR Congo at the top of the log and can secure qualification through one of two scenarios: if they win away to Guinea and DRC fail to win away to Libya; or if they draw and DRC lose.
Regardless, Carthage Eagles coach Nabil Maaloul will want his troops fully focused on the mission of beating Guinea in Conakry, which will be no easy task: the Syli Nationale defeated Libya 3-2 at the end of August in their last home game and will be tough opponents, even if they have been mathematically eliminated.
Tunisian defender Syam Ben Youssef is upbeat about his team’s chances of winning away from home, but acknowledges that Guinea pose a significant threat.
“Our destiny is in our own hands, but it's always difficult in Africa. I don't think Guinea will give up, even though they're already eliminated,” he told FIFA.com.
“They want to win games, have their say and give a good account of themselves. We need to want the victory more because we're playing to qualify for the World Cup.
“That happens maybe once in your life, maybe never. It would be fantastic to represent my country and family at a World Cup."
Guinea coach Lappe Bangoura will hope his team can throw a spanner in the works as far as Tunisia’s World Cup qualification is concerned, with the Syli Nationale also using this match as preparation for the resumption of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers next year.
The teams have met 20 times, according to FIFA’s statistics database, with Tunisia claiming eight wins compared to seven for Guinea. Their last meeting was in Monastir a year ago when the Carthage Eagles claimed a 2-0 home win.
The other Group A match between Libya and DRC will be played simultaneously in Monastir (since Libya cannot host home matches in their own country due to political instability).