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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 21 July 2018

Arab sides must 'work harder' to improve at World Cup: Tunisia manager Nabil Maaloul

None of Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Morocco have managed to make it out of the group stages

Tunisia manager Nabil Maaloul believes there is lots of work for Arab sides to do if they are to be competitive at future World Cups. Murad Sezer / Reuters
Tunisia manager Nabil Maaloul believes there is lots of work for Arab sides to do if they are to be competitive at future World Cups. Murad Sezer / Reuters

Arab countries are still not at the required level to compete properly at the World Cup, according to Tunisia manager Nabil Maaloul.

None of the four Arab sides in this month’s competition – a World Cup record - made it out of their groups, meaning to date there still has not been an Arab representative in the quarter-finals of the global finals.

Of the 11 matches involving Arab teams, only Saudi Arabia and Tunisia registered victories in Russia, with both coming in their final group match. Saudi Arabia defeated Egypt 2-1 on Monday to finish third, while Tunisia rounded off their campaign with a 2-1 win against Panama on Thursday. They also finished third.

Morocco, meanwhile, drew their last match with Spain but still finished bottom of Group B. With three defeats from three, Egypt were bottom of Group A despite many expecting them to progress.

“We have four Arab teams that are not yet at the required level for the tournament, they still have to work harder and improve their performances,” Maaloul said. “In order to do that, we need to have more of our players in professional leagues so they can learn and grow.

“I don’t think we have high-quality performance, we need to change our lifestyle because it is not in line with high-level football, we need to change the way we train. We need two more generations to reach [the top] level of performance in terms of fitness and physical strength. We are far from the required level.”

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