Former Southampton defender Radhi Jaidi has asserted that “Tunisian players do not like to suffer very much”, citing it as a reason why some of the best players in the North African nation can’t be exported to Europe.
He retired with the Saints in 2012 and managed their Under-23 team between 2017 and 2019.
“Some Tunisian players have done well in Europe. I think of Hatem Trabelsi, Karim Haggui or Zoubaier Baya a little before them. But there have been quite a few failures too,” Jaidi told Foot365.
“Basically, I think that it is a deep problem which is linked to our mentalities and our capacities to accept the requirement of the high level as well from a sporting point of view, as extra sports. Daily work, healthy living, mental strength and many other criteria are important for success in Europe.
“Tunisian players do not like to suffer very much, despite their undeniable technical talents. But the professional world and success at the highest level require a lot of sacrifice and persistence.
“When I played in England, I worked very hard to reach this level and continue in the Premier League.”
The former Esperance player cited problems such as lack of planning, patience and competitiveness in the Tunisian Ligue 1 as reasons for no other achievements.
“It is true that we have not won the Afcon for a long time. We thought we had a little chance in 2019, but some decisions were not the right ones, and we settled for a semi-final,” Jaidi continued.
“Our problem is a problem of continuity, which stems from our lack of planning. We plan over 2-3 years [from one Afcon to another], not over 10. In addition, the terms of office at the FTF are short, it does not help to plan properly.
“We also sometimes suffer from a lack of patience from the public or the authorities. Both players and coaches need time. Imagine if Belmadi had not won the Afcon…
“Perhaps the Algerian Federation would have brought a foreigner. Too often this is the case. “If a generation loses, we change immediately… We think we are gaining time, but that is wasting!
“But where are the others? We need more competition, to have more exposed young people, to have more teams regularly in African Cups.”
Jaidi was capped 105 times for Tunisia between 1996 and 2009, scoring seven goals.
He is the second-most capped player for the Carthage Eagles behind former goalkeeper Sadok Sassi’s tally of 116.