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Former Dundee United star robbed of World Cup dream

Bilel Mohsni.
Bilel Mohsni.

Former Dundee United defender Bilel Mohsni has hit out at the coach who robbed him of his World Cup dream.

The centre-back was left out of Tunisia’s final 23-man squad for Rusia 2018, which gets underway tomorrow after getting his career back on track at Tannadice.

National coach Nabil Maaloul included the 30-year-old in his preliminary 29-man pool but then delivered the devastating news that he had missed the cut.

“It was my dream to be at the World Cup,” said Mohsni.

“But I just knew I wasn’t going to make it.

“It had nothing to do with football. I am the best defender in Tunisia – for sure.

“I played 14 games in two months for Dundee United but the coach said I wasn’t ready.

“Yet, there was one guy who only played one first team game in a whole year and still got picked. That is injustice.

“Tell me – who is match-fit or not? Someone who has played a lot of competitive matches recently, or someone else who has just played once?

“After each training session with the national side, we played 11 versus 11 and I won most of those games. All of the players there knew I was the best defender there.

“They obviously couldn’t speak out but knew I should have been in the 23-man squad at least.”

Mohsni added: “The problem was the coach just didn’t give me my chance. We had two friendly games – for one I was on the bench against Portugal and for the other I was in the stand against Turkey.

“He knew that if I got the chance he wouldn’t be able to take me out of the team.

“I saw it with my own eyes. There were lots of funny things going on. I knew from the second week there, it wasn’t going to happen.

“It’s because I wasn’t born in Tunisia and am not a fan of one of the big four clubs in the country.

“Those clubs have a lot of power in the national team. As for me, I did things another way and nobody helped me get to where I am now in my career.

“I played in the Championship in Scotland and lower leagues in England, so I was the only player in the lower divisions out with Tunisia who was in the 29-man squad.”

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