Tunisia coach Sami Trabelsi has said the 2012 African Cup of Nations qualifier against Malawi this Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium will decide who will grab the Group K’s last qualifying berth.
With two games remaining for each side, Malawi and Tunisia are level on ten points.
Botswana have already qualified as group winners but with five teams in the pool, the runners-up are also guaranteed a place at the finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next year.
“It certainly is a crunch match,” Tunisia coach told FIFA website.
“The match is a tough one and [Tunisia] are in a difficult situation due to missing players, but we’re going to try and put our earlier group results behind us and perform to the standard we know we can in order to book our ticket to the finals,” he is quoted as saying.
The Tunisian coach said he instituted a philosophy centred on teamwork, designed to avoid over-reliance on individual players.
“We had a promising start when beating Chad 5-0, which put us back into contention after Malawi’s draw against Botswana. We’ve recently played two games, firstly against Central African Republic featuring our Europe-based players, then against Jordan when a lot of our first-choice lads were absent. But I believe we’ll be well-prepared for the Malawi game. The most important thing will be to perform well,” he said.
But Malawi coach Kinnah Phiri says he knows the fact that the crunch tie will be a do or die affair.
“We are aware of the task ahead of us on Saturday and we will fight to get the right result,” h e said.
The Flames’ preparations for the Tunisia clash were affected when their scheduled friendly in Mozambique was cancelled at short notice after the Malawian government barred the team’s trip.