About a year ago, football officials in Tunisia launched a plan aimed at attracting European-born players who are active either in football academies there or in some European clubs, with the aim of persuading them to defend the colors of Tunisia and play with the Carthage Eagles.
The European-born player recruitment cell, launched by the Football Association and supervised by coach Salim Ben Othman, has succeeded in joining several players for the Tunisian youth team, who plays Thursday the quarter-final match of the 2021 African Nations Cup against Cameroon.
Six players of Tunisian origin, who were born and raised in Europe, agreed to defend the colors of the Tunisian youth team, which is currently participating in the African Nations Cup finals in Mauritania, and this falls within the plan launched by the Tunisian Football Association, according to what was stated by the head of the cell to attract migrant players, Salim Ben Othman. .
Ben Othman said in statements on the official website of the Tunisian Football Federation: “For about a year we have been working to attract young football talents born in Europe and of Tunisian origin. Our goal is to convince them to play for Tunisia and defend its colors. The task is not easy at all, but we have succeeded so far in attracting Several players despite the temptations of the countries of residence. “
He continued, saying: “Getting to persuade the Tunisian players to come here and play for the Carthage Eagles goes through several stages, the first of which is to monitor these talents, then inspect them and evaluate their technical level and their readiness for addition, and then communicate with the player in order to convince him to carry the shirt of the Tunisian national team. Country of Residence”.
The Tunisian youth team (under 20 years old) includes German Bayer Leverkusen player Marc Lamti and Ramzi Ferjani from the Slovakian club Netra, who were born in Germany, and both hold Tunisian and German nationalities, and Elias Damerji, a French goalkeeper who holds French citizenship along with Tunisia, Adam Balamen, born in Sweden. Hassan Ayari is a player for the English club Sheffield, and Nabil Maqni is a young Tunisian striker, born in Italy and active in the club of Chiavo Verona, active in the Italian second division.
And these players, who started their first steps in football in Europe, contributed to Tunisia’s youth team qualifying for the quarter-finals of the African Nations Cup, currently in Mauritania.
Ramzi Ferjani, a defender of the Tunisian youth team, said that he chose to defend the colors of the Tunisian national team from a firm conviction after he found in the Federation officials all interest in carving a remarkable football march with the Eagles.
Ferjani, who was in Borussia Dortmund, expressed his ambition to participate with Tunisia’s first team in the World Cup, praising the atmosphere inside the Carthage Eagles team.
The supervisors of the Football Association’s technical department are seeking to attract other footballing talents, foremost of which is Manchester United player Hannibal Al-Majbri, who is a holder of Tunisian and French nationalities, and who previously played with the French junior national team.
In turn, Al-Mundhir al-Kabir, the coach of the first Tunisian national team, told Sky News Arabia that the Football Association and the technical staff of the national team are seeking to win all the Tunisian immigrant talents in Europe in the framework of benefiting from them and joining them in the first and Olympic teams and other youth teams.
Al-Kabeer said, “We have succeeded in including Hamza Rafia, a Juventus player, and we will continue the campaign to support the Eagles team with immigrant players who are able to succeed. We have a list of these and we are working with the federation to convince them to defend the colors of Tunisia.”
More than 50 players of Tunisian origin are active in Europe and most of them were born in Europe and took their first steps in the world of football from the stadiums of the countries of origin.
It is worth noting that the Tunisian Football Association succeeded in the year 2020 in attracting several immigrant football talents born in Europe, such as the Italian Juventus midfielder Hamza Rafia and Anis Benslimane, the Danish striker of Brondby, who play with Tunisia’s first national team, and also included the under-23 team for several Players born in Europe, most notably Habib El Weslati, Idris Al Mizouni, Adel Bateeb and Karim Al Raqiq.
The Carthage Eagles team previously included immigrant players in France or Germany, such as Moez Hassan, Hussein Al-Raqid, Shawqi Bin Saada, Wehbe Al-Khazri, Elias Al-Skhiri, Anis Bin Hatira, Naim Al-Seliti, Karim Al-Araibi, Dylan Bron and others.
On the other hand, he failed to attract other stars who chose to defend the colors of the countries of origin and residence, such as Sami Khedira, who won the 2014 World Cup with Germany, and his brother Rani Khedira, Sabri Al-Lamouchi, Hatem Bin Arafa, Wissam Bin Yedder, and others.