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Date: 24/01/2004
Time: 18:30 (UK time)

Preview:

Tunisia will be hoping to avoid an early upset as they face newcomers Rwanda in the opening match of the 2004 African Cup of Nations.

The hosts are one of the favourites for the title and will be expected to cruise past the minnows in front of a 60,000 capacity Stade Rades on Saturday.

"This is a big match. The pressure on us is huge and I hope that the players have taken in what I have told them," said Tunisia coach Roger Lemerre.

"But sport is full of surprises and anything can happen, especially in football - I should know."

There is a big question mark hanging over the fitness of star defender Hatem Trabelsi.

The Ajax Amsterdam player could miss the game having not fully recovered from an injury he sustained eight weeks ago.

Etoile Sahel defender Karim Hagui is likely to make his first Cup of Nations appearance if Trabelsi is declared unfit, while Club Africain star Karim Saidi is set for his debut at left-back.

Rwanda have been training behind closed doors at their base in Bizerte since their arrival earlier in the week.

Their Serb coach Ratomir Dujkovic has already resigned himself to the fact his team will not win the Cup of Nations and instead is just thankful they can take their place in the event.

"This is a chance to learn from better teams," said Dujkovic.

"We have no chance of winning the Cup of Nations, but the Tunisians will have to suffer to beat us.

"We are a poor nation and playing here is heaven for us especially with all the problems and tragedies the nation has endured."

Rwanda have no injury concerns with striker Desire Mbonabucya likely to lead the side out as captain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/africa/3423861.stm
 

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Eveche Divine (Cameroon) will be the referee, with Endeng Zogo (Cameroun) and Matela Lazurus (South Africa) as his assistants.

My prediction: Tunisia 3 Rwanda 0
 

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Code:
MATCH LINEUPS 
  
[b]Tunisia vs.          Rwanda[/b] 

1 Boumnijel Ali      3 Nadikumana Hamad  
2 Badra Khaled       4 Bizimana Canesius 
3 Hagul Karim        5 Bizawira Leandre 
5 Jaziri Zeid        7 Sibomaana Abdul 
8 Nafti Mehdi        9 Elias Raphael Henriette  
11 Dos Santos Silva  11 Karekezi Olivier 
12 Mnari Jawhar      13 Ntaganda Elias 
14 Chadli Adel       14 Said Abed 
15 Jaidi Radhi       15 Mbonabcya Desire 
18 Ben Achour Slim   16 Nshimiyimana Eric  
19 Ayari Anis        18 Nkunzingoma Ramadhane  
        
Substitutes 
4 Yahia Alaeddine    1 Mbeu Patrick 
6 Trabelsi Hatem     2 Habyarimana Jean Paul 
7 Mhadhebi Imed      6 Rusanganwa Frederic  
9 Braham Najeh       8 Kamanzi Michel 
10 Ghodhbane Kais    10 Gatete Jimmy 
13 Bouazizi Riadh    12 Munyaneza Henri 
16 Fadhel Khald      17 Lomani Jean 
17 Jedidi Mohamed    19 Kamanzi Karim 
20 Jose Clayton      20 Mulisa Jimmy 
21 Saidi Karim       21 Bitana Jean Remi  
22 Azeiz Khaled      22 Ndagijimana J. Claude
 

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26th minute - Tunisia take the lead, smart free-kick played to Jaziri who scores from a tight angle.

Tunisia 1 - 0 Rwanda
 

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Rwandan player Bizimana sent off after receiving his 2nd yellow card.

Straight after that, Tunisia scored their 2nd goal through Dos Santos.

Tunisia 2 - 1 Rwanda
 

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Full Time: Tunisia 2-1 Rwanda

Not a very strong start for Tunisia on home turf knowing that they are one of the contenders for the title. Anywayz hope they'll pill a better performence in their following games.
 

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Scrappy game. Not attractive to watch by all means.

Tunisia's midfield was a joke. Tons of miss-passes and no offensive contribution at all. Just long balls to Jaziri and Dos Santos, hoping both can run and score. Both of Tunisia's goals came from freekicks, and both wouldn't be scored against any respected team in the world. In the first one the Rwandians were caught napping as Jaziri scored from a quick pass from Dos Santos. In the second, ZERO Man marking at the near post as Hagui missed the header but Dos Santos found an open net and made it 2-1. I Dunno what was Rwanda's #4 Bizimana thinking !! He was already on a yellow and when Jaziri dribbled his way past him, he stupidly held his leg !!!! Rwanda aren't a bad side but they lack experience, not to mention the shitty state of the Tunisian NT tonight. With Jaziri and Dos Santos [IMO Man of the Match] excluded.

P.S. As long as Jaaidi and Khaled Badra are playing, Tunisia can kiss any hopes of winning the Cup goodbye. The slowest defenders on earth for sure, Not a single doubt in my mind. Slim Ben Achour had a medicore match, I guess the reason is him warming PSG's bench too often. Bouazizzi was poor too, same goes for Nafti. Karim Hagui is originally a Centreback, so I don't blame him for the lack of offensive play on the right flank..But where was Anis el-Ayari on the left ? Same goes for Adel Chedli, who was crap. :yuck:
 

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Nerazzuri4life said:
Scrappy game. Not attractive to watch by all means.
Yeah, I couldn't agree any more with you. This wasn't a good advertisement of African football. The only bright spots for me was when Elias scored with that delightful free-kick and Francileudo Dos Santos's nice scissors kick was saved by the Rwandan keeper.

Tunisia were a dissapointment. In fact, they can thank Rwanda's inexperience and dreadful defending of set-pieces for this victory. Tunisia have to lift up their game if they want to beat the stronger Guineans and Congolese in their next game.

As for Rwanda, it wasn't a bad baptism of fire. They lost today but weren't disgraced at all. Now, they can only get better. It's always tough playing the opening game against the host nation, which also happens to be your very first in an international "tourney". Rwanda will need to improve in midfield. I thought they were quite awful in that department of the game.

In all, I look forward to a great tournament. I hope for surprises but I'll always savour victory for the deserving team. May the ACN continue in style!
 

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Rafael Elias is originaly from Angola.

He got his Rwandese nationality because his wife is from Rwanda and Désiré Mbonabucya is a good friend of him (they play together) in KV Mechelen.

Strange that Jimmy Gathete (the hero of the qualifiers) is not in the starting line-up???:confused: :confused:
 
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