Tunisia heads to World Cup 2018 without Akaichi or Ben Cherifia

Tunisia coach Nabil Maaloul stripped six players from his provisional group to reveal a whittled down 23-man World Cup squad on Saturday.

The Carthage Eagles squad will head to the World Cup without striker Ahmed Akaichi or goalkeeper Moez Ben Cherifia.

"Good luck to my friends in the World Cup in Russia... Long live Tunisia!" Akaichi, who plays for Al-Ittihad, wrote on his Facebook page.

Tunisia's football federation announced the squad a day after the team drew (2-2) in a friendly against Turkey, with goals from Anice Badri and Ferjani Sassi.

Khazri sat out Friday's warm-up match, but was included in the final squad.

Tunisia are in Group G in Russia play England June 18, Belgium June 23 and Panama June 28.

The team will play a final warm-up match on June 9 against Spain -- world champions in 2010.

The star of the Tunisian team, Youssef Msakni, will miss the World Cup due to knee an injury -- sustained in a league match for Qatari club Al-Duhail.

In addition to Akaichi and Ben Cherifia, of Esperance, Maaloul omitted Khalil Chammam of Esperance, Bilel Mohsni who plays for Dundee United in Scotland, Karim Laribi of Cesena in Italy, Mohamed Larbi of Tours in France and Ahmed Akaichi of Al Ittihad in Saudi Arabia.

The 23-man squade:

Goalkeepers: Aymen al-Mathlouthi (Al Batin/KSA), Mouez Hassen (Chateauroux/FRA), Farouk Ben Mustapha (Al Shabab/KSA)

Defenders: Nagguez Hamdi(Zamalek/EGY), Dylan Bronn (Gent/BEL), Rami Bedoui (Etoile du Sahel), Yohan Benalouane(Leicester/ENG), Syam Ben Youssef (Kasimpasa/TUR), Yassine Meriah (CS Sfaxien), Oussama Haddadi (Dijon/FRA), Ali Maaloul (Al Ahly/EGY)

Midfielders: Ellyes Skhiri (Montpellier/FRA), Mohamed Amine Ben Amore (Al-Ahli/KSA), Ghaylene Chaalali (Esperance), Ferjani Sassi (Al Nassr/KSA), Ahmed Khalil (Club Africain), Saifeddine El Khaoui(Troyes/FRA)

Strikers: Fakheredine Ben Youssef (Al Ettifaq/KSA), Anice Badri (Esperance), Bassem Srarfi (Nice/FRA), Wahbi Khazri (Rennes/FRA), Naim Sliti (Dijon/FRA), Saber Khalifa (Club Africain)

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