Hannibal Mejbri enjoyed a fantastic Arab Cup last month, helping Tunisia reach the final against Algeria although they lost 2-0. He was named Man of the Match in two games, including the semi-final victory over Egypt.
He is now representing his country in the African Cup of Nations and has been drawn in a group with Mali, Mauritania and Gambia. Their first game is against Mali on Wednesday January 12th and Mejbri told the club’s official site he is looking forward to playing whichever role is asked of him to help his country.
To be honest with you, I’ll give my absolute best wherever I’m played out on the pitch, whether that be at no.8 or no.6 or no.10 or even on the wing. I think I’ve got the qualities to play all of those positions. I just need to study each of them to make sure I tactically understand them, in particular without the ball and then when I have the ball I just have to play my own game and not feel any pressure. Up until now it’s been working really well.
Mejbri listed three footballing legends amongst his inspirations but says he is also learning from the more experienced players in the Tunisia squad.
Obviously I’ve got role models, but they don’t play much football these days! Zinedine Zidane was one of the best players in the world and you had someone like Ronaldinho who was great on the wing. Iniesta [plays] a bit deeper. So I try to learn from watching players like that but in my national team too we’ve got some really talented players, so I’m hoping to learn from them as well.
Tunisia aren’t one of the favourites, like Senegal, Algeria or Ivory Coast, but they do have one of the better squads in the competition. Their odds of winning, like on Japan Casino, are still fairly strong though with Mejbri hoping to add his reputation, after winning African revelation of the year 2021 last week. Close to half a million fans voted in the Foot Africa award with Hannibal earning over half of the votes, finishing ahead of Charleroi Adem, Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba and RB Salzburg’s Mohamed Camara.
Tunisia squad for Afcon 2021
Goalkeepers: Farouk Ben Mustapha (Esperance, Tunisia), Bechir Ben Said (US Monastir, Tunisia), Ayman Dahmen (Sfaxien, Tunisia), Ali Jemal (Stade Tunisien, Tunisia).
Defenders: Dylan Bronn (Metz, France), Montassar Talbi (Rubin Kazan, Russia), Bilel Ifa (Club Africain, Tunisia), Oussama Haddadi (Malatyaspor, Turkey), Omar Rekik (Arsenal, England), Mohamed Drager (Nottingham Forest, England), Mohamed Amine Ben Hamida (Esperance, Tunisia), Hamza Mathlouthi (Zamalek, Egypt), Ali Maaloul (Al-Ahly, Egypt), Ali Abdi (Caen, France).
Midfielders: Mohamed Ali Ben Romdhane (Esperance, Tunisia), Aissa Laidouni (Ferencvaros, Hungary), Ellyes Skhiri (Cologne, Germany), Ghailene Chaalali (Esperance, Tunisia), Seif-Eddine Khaoui (Clermont, France), Anis Ben Slimane (Brondby, Denmark). Hannibal Mejbri (Manchester United, England), Firas Ben Larbi (Ajman, UAE), Wahbi Khazri (Saint Etienne, France), Hamza Rafia (Standard Liege, Belgium), Naim Sliti (Al-Ittifaq, Saudi Arabia).
Forwards: Seifeddine Jaziri (Zamalek, Egypt), Yoann Touzghar (Troyes, France), Youssef Msakni (Al Arabi, Qatar).