Saturday Jul 25, 2020. 09:00
Tunisia captain Youssef Msakni is keen to inspire the Carthage Eagles to the 2022 FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar.
The 29-year-old winger, who plies his trade with Qatari side Al Duhail, is also looking forward to playing in the stadiums which will be used to host the global tournament.
Msakni was not included in the Tunisia squad which participated in the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals in Russia after picking up an injury.
“It is indeed hard to miss the chance to play at a World Cup and wear your country’s colours when you’re only a few weeks away from the world’s premier sports event,” Msakni told FIFA’s official website.
“This could badly affect any player lacking the strength of character, but thanks to God I accepted the situation and told myself I’d make it next time.
“Yes. Soon I’ll complete seven years in Qatar. I came here in 2013, three years after the country won the rights to host the 2022 edition. Since then, the construction of stadiums has never stopped. That has been great.”
Msakni has been on the books of Al Duhail (formerly known as Lekhwiya) since 2013 and he was loaned out to Belgian club AS Eupen in 2019.
“But when we started playing on pitches that will host World Cup games, I became even more motivated to lead my national team to qualify and compete here,” he added.
“It’s really exciting to experience playing on these pitches, which are luxurious and on par with the world’s best arenas. They create the ideal environment for players to perform at their best.
“I’ll convey these feelings to my team-mates to motivate them to battle fiercely in the African qualifiers and reach Qatar 2022.”
Msakni, who has played 62 games and scored 11 goals for Tunisia, has represented his country at six Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals.