Saber Khalifa returns to Tunisia squad for play-off

Saber Khalifa

Tunisia have recalled key striker Saber Khalifa in a 26-man squad for the World Cup qualifying play-off first leg against Cameroon in Tunis.

The Marseille forward was suspended for Tunisia's last qualifier, a 2-0 home defeat by Cape Verde last month.

That defeat was overturned by Fifa, who ruled Cape Verde had fielded an ineligible player, giving Tunisia their place in the final round of qualifying.

Ruud Krol will coach the team for the first time, in his role as caretaker.

The Dutchman, who remains the coach of Tunisian side CS Sfaxien, took over from Nabil Maaloul when he resigned after Tunisia's defeat by Cape Verde on 7 September, which had initially seen them eliminated.

Krol has brought in attacking midfielder Maher Hannachi and striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, who he manages at Sfaxien.

But key defenders Karim Hagui and Aymen Abdennour are both suspended.

And midfield pair Youssef Msakni and Oussama Darragi, who both played in the last qualifier, have been omitted from the squad.

Tunisia host the first leg on 13 October with the return match in Yaounde on 17 November.

The aggregate winners qualify for next year's finals in Brazil.

Tunisia squad:

Goalkeepers: Moez Ben Cherifia (Esperance), Farouk Ben Mustapha (CA Bizerte), Rami Jeridi (CS Sfaxien), Aymen Mathlouthi (Etoile Sahel)

Defenders: Siam Ben Youssef (FC Astra), Alaya Brigui (Etoile Sahel), Khalil Chammam, Sameh Derbali, Chamseddine Dhaouadi (all Esperance), Yassine Mikari (FC Luzern), Mohamed Ali Yacoubi (Club Africain), Alaeddine Yahia (Racing Lens) Midfielders: Anis Ben Htira (Hertha Berlin), Wissem Ben Yahia (Mersin Idmanyurdu), Yassine Chikhaoui (FC Zurich), Maher Hannachi (CS Sfaxien), Ahmed Harrane (CA Bizerte), Wahbi Khazri (Bastia), Khaled Mouelhi, Houcine Ragued (both Esperance), Ferjani Sassi (CS Sfaxien)

Forwards: Sami Allagui (Hertha Berlin), Fakhreddine Ben Youssef (CS Sfaxien), Amine Chermiti (FC Zurich), Issam Jomaa (Kuwait SC), Saber Khalifa (Olympique Marseille).

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