The brave decision taken by the French coach was successful as the late addition proved to be the difference in the Round of 16
Tunisia coach Alain Giresse has revealed his decision to pull out goalkeeper Mouez Hassen for Ben Mustapha just before the penalty shootout against Ghana in Monday’s Round 16 tie at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) was a ‘gamble’.
The French coach had earlier brought on Rami Bedoui in the latter moments of the game against the Black Stars but he was let down as the defender headed into his own net in injury time, with his first touch.
Though goalkeeper Hassen, who started in goal for Tunisia had a decent game, registering good saves; including a late effort by Ghana deep into extra-time, he was pulled out in the 122nd minute.
While coach Giresse said he knew the ability of substitute goalkeeper Mustapha when it comes to penalty kicks, he admitted he was not sure if the late introduction would work out.
“Bringing Ben Mustapha [second choice keeper] on was a decision I had taken during the game but I didn’t know it would work,” the French coach told the media in Egypt.
“It was a gamble. We didn’t know we’d have to use an extra player if we had an injury, so we kept one in reserve.”
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In the end, coach Giresse’s brave call worked out as Mustapha was the hero for the Carthage Eagles, coming on for the shootout and saving Caleb Ekuban’s penalty.
The three Tunisia goalkeepers have now all tasted action at the 2019 Afcon, a development only peculiar to the Carthage Eagles.
Tunisia will face surprise package Madagascar on Thursday in one of Afcon quarterfinal games.