By Tony Ubani
Tunisian Karim Haggui has warned his countrymen not to over-celebrate the 2-2 draw obtained by his side in Nigeria on Sunday as the World Cup ticket was still a bridge too far. The inspirational player urged his mates to remain focused on the task at hand in order to successfully book their ticket for South Africa 2010. The North Africans lead Group B with eight points while Nigeria trail with six points.
â€œWe shouldnâ€™t celebrate too much and fall into the excesses of euphoria. The point obtained in Abuja is important, but itâ€™s still too early to talk about qualification. We have two more challenges. Letâ€™s keep our feet on the ground, remain clear-minded and letâ€™s work harder,â€ he said in one of their local players.
Haggui said that he recognized that the Tunisian national team put in an impressive performance by showing the mental fortitude to come back from a goal down twice in the match, but preferred to focus on the future rather than gloat.
â€œWhat we accomplished was a national duty. We owe a lot of things to our country and our people. Itâ€™s the national flag that we defend. Our team keeps improving from match to match. May the future be even better than this.â€
Tunisia have a two-point lead over Nigeria and still must face Kenya in Tunis before traveling to Maputo to face Mozambique in their last match while Nigeria face Mozambique at home before travelling to Nairobi to face Kenya in the final match.
Many optimists are at work hoping that Tunisia would crumble either against Kenya or Mozambique to allow Nigeria regain consciousness and get back on the track. Same scenario played out in the qualifiers for the World Cup in Germany when many prayed that Angola would relinquish their lead for Nigeria to qualify. It was a bad dream and the nightmare is on.