Tunisia Rugby captain Saif Boussaada says the main goal now is to avoid relegation as they prepare for Saturday’s Africa Gold Cup against Kenya at RFUEA Grounds in Nairobi.
Saif and Tunisia trained on Wednesday at RFUEA grounds where he told Raga House the relegation battle will go on till the last day of the competition on August 18.
“The chance to finish second is possible but it’s getting harder and harder. Our goal now is not to get relegated because we are in that situation now. If Zimbabwe get the win over Uganda we will need to win against Morocco.”
Tunisia’s 18-14 win over Zimbabwe on July 8 had given the North Africans hopes of finishing at least second but last week’s 67-12 defeat to Uganda worsened things and relegation fears are back.
“It is hard this season. We will have to wait till the last day to see who will be relegated. Every team will be in the competition until the last day."
As it stands, Tunisia are fourth with four points one ahead of fifth and sixth placed Zimbabwe and Morocco. With five points Uganda is third as Namibia and Kenya occupy top spots with 20 and 12 points, respectively.
“After the game against Zimbabwe we’ve been preparing to face Uganda and Kenya. We knew Uganda’s game would be tough and Kenya will be tougher unfortunately we couldn’t get a win over Uganda and now against Kenya we know it will be proper tough but we are ready for it.”
Saif was part of a Tunisian side that lost 100-10 to Kenya in 2017 but went ahead to survive relegation.
“Last year we lost by 100-10, to be honest it was very embarrassing; it has never happened in the rugby history of Tunisia. Then (2017), we came with a really poor squad and I said that before the game, we came with the second team because our first team players refused to come."
"This year if you see our team it's also not stable, we lost with a big score to Namibia (118-0 away) then got a win over Zimbabwe because we got our players (at home) and now we’ve come to Uganda and Kenya with a weaker team because we have very many players who do not want to travel. They just play in Tunisia but all in all we are ready than last year.’
The 2018 Africa Gold Cup is doubling up as qualification for 2019 Rugby World Cup where competition’s winner will head to Japan as Africa 1. Runners up will however head to a four-team global repechage in France during the November tests window.
“The competition this year to be honest it looks little bit poor than last year. Uganda and Kenya don’t look as strong as last year, I don’t know why. Namibia look better but Zimbabwe , Kenya and Uganda look weaker."
1.Chelly Haythem 2.Mohamed Ben Yassine 3.Saif Boussaada 4.Jakni Chedi 5.Nassin Nuzan 6.Nabri Ahmed 7.Dhia Izen Dhiab 8.Hamdi El Mechri 9.Hayder Nasrallah 10.Meher Amamou 11.Sahbi Dhif 12.Achraf Dhif 13.Mohamed Ali Gafci 14.Houssem Khalfi 15.Eddine Hamila 16.Yahia Gras 17.Amir Ksontini 18.Imed Hasnawi 19.Isam Warhani 20.Rathwen Hammami 21.Sami Mensi