Aged 28, Wahbi Khazri has taken part in every edition of the Africa Cup of Nations since 2013. Author of 16 goals with Tunisia, the vice-captain of the Carthage Eagles has a new opportunity to offer a better performance to Tunisian fans. Faced with Ghana, the task looks daunting but everything is possible.
The native of Ajaccio took a long time to decide to join Tunisia national team. He played for France youth teams before opting for Tunisia in December 2012. Since then, Khazri has continued to play an important and pivotal role with the Carthage Eagles.
After the first round of the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations, which Wahbi Khazri himself considers "disappointing", Tunisia has a chance to "launch its competition" against Ghana. The two teams will lock horns in Ismailia in the last Round of 16 match on Monday 8 July 2019.
The last (and only) major title of Tunisia dates back to 2004 when they organized AFCON at home. Since then, the Carthage Eagles have not passed the quarterfinal stage of the competition. However, the last years seem to have brought a little joy to the Tunisian public.
With Khazri in the squad, Tunisia participated in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The midfielder, who sometimes turns into attacking, captivated the audience. By scoring goals against Belgium and Panama, he became the first Tunisian to score in two consecutive world cup matches.
Considered by many analysts as the best Tunisian of the Russian adventure, Khazri could not prevent Tunisia’s elimination from the first round. Khazri with teammate Youssef Msakni are the two leaders of the Carthage Eagles. With his AS Saint-Etienne, he scored 13 goals last season; a personal record that makes this season one of the most successful for him, both with club and national team.
Alain Giresse, the coach of Tunisia, has taken full measure of Khazri's influence in the team and gave him almost “carte blanche” to express himself in the field. But with his usual modesty, Khazri noted "I do not know if I have an influence but I have some experience, I try to give good humor and joy and we are here as a team”.
In Egypt, he has already scored a goal in the second group match against Mali (1-1). However the lackluster performance of the Carthage Eagles marked by three draws, raises some criticism.