Tunisian striker Issam Jemaa believes starting well in the Africa Nations Cup is always crucial and says a win over Algeria will give his team more confidence.
Jemâa will be participating in his fifth Africa Cup of Nations finals in South Africa, following those of 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012.
The Eagles of Carthage will measure their strength with Ivory Coast, Algeria and Togo in Group D, and embark on their campaign on 22 January against les Fennecs of Algeria, their great North African rivals.
And for the Koweït SC player, this first match will be crucial to their success in the rest of the tournament.
“To start off well in the competition, we have to win this first match. A win against Algeria will give us confidence and will be good for our morale. Our group is very tight and all the teams could qualify,” confided the former Espérance de Tunis player to Fifa.com.
The 28-year old striker, who was a quarterfinalist in the continent’s showpiece tournament in 2006, 2008 and 2012, really hopes to succeed in South Africa.
“I hope we will be psychologically and physically present, in order to go as far as possible,” he assured.
Jemâa was the top striker in the Afcon 2012 qualifiers with six goals, and is also the most efficient goal scorer in the history of Tunisian football with 36 goals to his 77 caps. He made his international debut in June 2005 against Botswana.
The Eagles of Carthage won the competition in 2004 and were runners-up twice, in 1965 and 1996.