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15.11.2009 Sports News

Tunisia blame pitch and heat

By BBC
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Tunisia coach Humberto Coelho says the difficult conditions in Mozambique were the reason his side failed to qualify for the World Cup.

The Carthage Eagles lost 1-0 in Maputo, a result which meant Nigeria's 3-2 victory in Kenya took the west Africans to South Africa 2010.

Tunisia struggled in the stifling heat and failed to adapt to the Machava Stadium's artificial surface.

"It was very difficult to play in these circumstances," Coelho told BBC Sport.

"My players, especially in the second half, had many problems physically because it was very difficult."

Captain Karim Haggui agreed that the team struggled physically.

"We had problems with the heat and the pitch, because we're not used to playing on such a surface and it was over 30 degrees as well," the defender told the BBC.

The home side, in contrast, were well prepared for playing a match of such intensity, because Mambas coach Mart Noijj had devised his own special preparations.

"All visitors to Maputo misjudge the circumstances here," the Dutchman told BBC Sport.

"This artificial surface gives a lot of temperature to players' shoes and knees, and the feet boil like boiling potatoes.

"Since Monday, we've been sleeping - and suffering - without air conditioning, which is why my players didn't suffer during the match."

In a game which Tunisia needed to win to be sure of reaching the World Cup finals, the visitors failed to force Mozambican keeper Kapango into a decent save.

Instead, most of the action came from Mozambique, who's victory takes them to their first Nations Cup since 1998.






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