Gabon can seal qualification to the next round with a win against Tunisia on Sunday, how many would have predicted this before the tournament started?
The 1-0 win against Cameroon may have shocked many bar those who had a keen eye on the recent World Cup/African Cup of Nations qualification campaign. Undeniably Gabon rode their luck at times, especially in the second half, but just as surprising as the result was the manner in which Alan Giresse’s team went about their business.
Choosing to attack straight from the whistle their early endeavour caught Cameroon unaware. The early lead could have been doubled or tripled before half time.
The question now is whether Gabon chooses the same tactic ie attack, score and defend their lead or instead decide to hold out for a draw or attack and overwhelm Tunisia from the off.
If there is one small negative point from Gabon’s triumph then it shall be that they have lost the element of surprise.
Undoubtedly, Tunisia do not have the same players as Cameroon to their disposal but as the African Nations Cup (ANC) has already told us, no team can be under-estimated in this tournament. Also Tunisia, having drawn their first game against Zambia are still in a healthy position and a win tomorrow may see them top the table with 4 points come Sunday night. On the other hand a draw for both teams and they both retain hopes of qualification, however both may view this as a chance for 3 points missed rather than 1 point gained.
Alike Gabon Tunisia are a team lacking any real football stars but make up for this deficit with a strong team ethic and hard-work.
Their main threats would normally come from Esperance midfielder Oussama Darragi, however he was substituted early in Tunisia’s first game against Zambia.It still unclear whether Carthage Eagles talisman is fit enough to play tomorrow and if he is missing then the main thrust of creativity will come from left winger Zouheir Dhaoudi.
However, considering the job that the Gabon defence did on Samuel Eto’o these two should hold no real worries.
Daniel Cousin will again be the attacking focus for Gabon, his pace and strength was a noticeable hindrance to Cameroon in the first half of their clash. Aubameyang was surprisingly under-used coming on as a late second half substitute hopefully he will be given a start this time round.
The often under-appreciated Roguy Meye will again be the key player (his tenacity created the Gabon winner last week) he really is the main hub of Gabon’s creativity. Unfortunately he picked up a stupid yellow card on Wednesday and must avoid a repeat and possible suspension.
If both teams choose to attack and pursue the win we might have a classic on our hands however if pragmatism rules the day we also may have a drab stalemate.
It is unlikely that both teams shall differ from their game one line ups.
Prediction – Gabon 2 Tunisia 0