PORT SAID: Tunisia coach Roger Lemerre said he was departing the African Nations Cup on Sunday satisfied with the performance of his team and their prospects for this year s World Cup finals in Germany.
The veteran French trainer, who won the Nations Cup with Tunisia two years ago, said his side had profited enormously from their run at the tournament in Egypt, which ended on Saturday with elimination at the quarter-final stage.
I m very satisfied with our performances and with what we gained out of the tournament.
In terms of team selection for the World Cup, in terms of experience for the players and the building of our confidence and team spirit.
At the World Cup in June, Tunisia have been drawn against Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Spain, whose coach Luis Arragones was in Port Said to watch Saturday s match.
Tunisia s loss on penalties to Nigeria after a 1-1 draw made them the fourth of five African World Cup finalists to be eliminated in Egypt.
However, Lemerre said the disappointment was tempered by the gains from the tournament.
Two years ago we beat Nigeria in the semi-finals on penalties and now the ball has run the other way. That s life, he added.
Lemerre reiterated his earlier statement defending his decision to put out a reserve side in their final Group C match against Guinea last Monday, which might have cost Tunisia a supposedly easier quarter-final fixture.
The defending champions lost the match 3-0 to miss out on top place in their opening round group and instead of staying in Alexandria had to travel to Port Said to play Nigeria.
So we might have played Senegal in the quarter-finals instead … But for me both Senegal and Nigeria are the reference point for African football. There is little between them. Guinea deserved to win that game and outplayed us on the day. Guinea lost their quarter-final clash 3-2 to Senegal in Alexandria on Friday. Reuters