By Albert Akota
Gernot Rohr’s Tunisian assistant, Nabil Trabelsi, believes that Super Eagles have the quality to defeat his country, Tunisia, again after the Carthage Eagles fell 1-0 to the Nigerians in the Third/Fourth Place match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The Super Eagles and the Carthage Eagles will clash in an international friendly match at the Jacques Lemans Arena in Sankt Veit an der Glan on Tuesday.
Trabelsi who is Rohr’s assistant as a video analyst, spoke to the Tunisian sports news website, Ettachkila.com, ahead of the match. Aside briefly previewing the upcoming friendly match, Trabelsi who is an UEFA A licenced coach, with other qualifications, spoke glowingly about his experience so far working with the Super Eagles under Rohr.
“First of all, I think that the context will be completely different from our last confrontation in Egypt,” Trabelsi told Ettachkila.com of the Nigeria Vs Tunisia Tuesday’s friendly, recalling the Super Eagles’ 1-0 win against the same opponent at at AFCON 2019.
“It’s a friendly game and both teams will be looking to develop a good game with technical and fast football. We know Tunisia very well and we will do everything to win.”(smiles)
As a member of Rohr’s backroom staff, Trabelsi played his role as Nigeria qualified and featured in both the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia and the 2019 AFCON. He wants to achieve better feats with the Super Eagles working with Rohr before looking to take charge as a head coach somewhere else.
“I admit that this is something that makes me think, but in any case, it will not be for now,” he said when asked about aspiring to become a head coach.
“I want to play a second World Cup with Nigeria. Our goal remains to go to Qatar in 2022, and why not, repeat the exploits of 2014 or 1998 (Second Round feats in 1994 ,1998 and 2014). I will have the opportunity thereafter, to take a step forward and take charge of a good team as a head coach.”
On how he met and started his work relationship with Rohr, Trabelsi recalls it all started even before the German arrived to replace Sunday Oliseh as Super Eagles head coach in August 2016.
“It was during the CAN 2013 in South Africa. I was on a scouting mission for my club [Freiburg] and that’s where I got to know Gernot,” said Trabelsi who assisted George Leekens in 2014 when the Belgian was the head coach of Carthage Eagles.
“The understanding went well between us because we share a lot of points in common: we have a common friend in the person Volcker Finke and both worked at Etoile (Gernot Rohr had coached the flagship club of the Sahel between 2008 and 2009). It is only natural that I began in 2015 my collaboration with him as assistant coach of the Burkina Faso team (for a year) before he resigned.”
He added: “Yes, it was in 2016 that my adventure in Nigeria began. I am lucky to work with great players from the African continent in a country that breathes football.
“My arrival in Nigeria, I owe it a lot to Gernot Rohr, who believed in me and who imposed me in his staff. I am very proud of my journey, we managed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia where we played extraordinary matches against world stars like Lionel Messi or Luka Modric (Nigeria was eliminated on the wire in first round by Argentina). One year later, we play CAN 2019 in Egypt where we finish on the podium by beating Tunisia in the small final. It is a very enriching experience for me to coach the Super Eagles , both personally and professionally.”
Super Eagles head coach, Rohr, pays the salaries of Trabelsi, and his two other assistants – Jean Luc Royer (fitness coach) and Tunde Adelakun (chief scout).