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MATSAPHA – Fierce Tunisia is here. ‘The Eagles of Carthage’, as they are fondly known, parade a 50 member delegation and all have been booked at the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel in Ezulwini.

After over an hour delay, the highly experienced North African giants arrived yesterday afternoon at the Matsapha International Airport on board their private jet at 3pm. They are here for tomorrow’s Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at Mavuso Sports Centre.

No comment from the Tunisian side was made to journalists upon their arrival as the media officer of the national team stated that they would have an official press conference today before they resumed training.

The Tunisian captain politely asked not to comment.
Confusion arose during arrival of the African giants as Eswatini National Football Association (ENFA) personnel were not present to welcome the team.
The mix-up stemmed from the fact that local football officials were not sure at what time the Tunisians would land at Matsapha.

Journalists were told that the Tunisian delegation would land at 1:30pm, and then they were later advised that there had been a slight flight delay and  the team would now  arrive in Eswatini an hour later.

However, the media was then informed that the Tunisian jet would land at 4pm.
Some senior FA officials were spotted leaving the airport probably with the presumption that they would return before 4pm to welcome the Tunisian squad.
Unexpectedly, the Tunisian side landed at around 3pm and was assisted by airport officials to their coach bus.

The FA officials were then spotted speeding into the airport premises moments after the North African giants had been driven to their hotel.
Questioned about the confusion, FA’s Marketing and Communications Officer Muzi Radebe insisted that there was an attaché to welcome a foreign nation.
“There is always an attaché to welcome a foreign nation, that is protocol and we always adhere to that obligation,” he said.

Even though the squad was kept secret until today’s media briefing, it was gathered that there were about 20 players. The rest are officials and support staff who include physiotherapists and nutritionists.

Coach Faouzi Benzarti did not tamper with the squad he inherited in July. The team is dominated by players who did duty at the FIFA World Cup in Russia about three months ago.
Gifted striker Issam Jebali of Norwegian side Rosenburg, midfielder Larry Azouni and Karim Laaribi are some of the key players who are here for the showdown.

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