The National Sport of Tunisia is Soccer.
Soccer in Tunisia is passionately followed, fostering a strong sense of national pride and unity.
To learn more about sports culture in Tunisia, read our article about the most popular sports in Tunisia.
Table of Contents
#1 History of Soccer
- 1921: Formation of the Tunisian Football Federation (Fédération Tunisienne de Football or FTF).
- 1956: Independence of Tunisia, marking a new era for the growth of soccer in the country.
- 1957: Launch of the Tunisian Ligue Professionnelle 1, the country’s premier soccer league.
- 1960: Tunisia’s national team played its first official match against Algeria, winning 2-1.
- 1978: Tunisia became the first African team to win a World Cup match, with a 3-1 victory over Mexico.
- 2004: Tunisia won its first (and to date, only) African Cup of Nations title, beating Morocco in the final.
#2 Culture and Traditions
Soccer plays a vital role in Tunisia’s cultural identity, with fans following local clubs and the national team fervently. Matches are events that bring people together, fostering camaraderie and unity across different social strata.
Derbies between rival clubs, such as Club Africain and Espérance Sportive de Tunis, are highly anticipated events that generate considerable excitement and tension. Supporters take part in pre-match rituals and display their passion with vibrant colors, chants, and banners.
During international competitions, Tunisians unite to support their national team, the Eagles of Carthage, as they represent the country on the global stage. Fans gather in cafes, homes, and public squares to watch matches together, bonding over their shared love for the sport.
#3 How it Works: Rules, Gameplay and Equipment
📕 Rules & Gameplay
- Match Duration: A standard match consists of two halves, each lasting 45 minutes, with a 15-minute break in between.
- Objective: Each team tries to score by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal.
- Players: Each team has 11 players, including one goalkeeper.
- Offside: A player is offside if they are nearer to the opponent’s goal than both the ball and the second last opponent when the ball is played to them.
- Fouls: Direct and indirect free-kicks and penalty kicks are awarded for infringements of the rules.
⚙️ Equipment & Gear
- Ball: Round and made of leather or another suitable material.
- Goalposts: Located at each end of the field, they are 7.32 meters wide and 2.44 meters tall.
- Kits: Teams wear distinguishing kits, with goalkeepers wearing different colors to stand out.
- Shin Guards: Protection for players from potential tackles or hits.
- Boots: Specialized shoes designed for the sport’s requirements.
#4 Modern Development of Soccer
The evolution of soccer in Tunisia has seen the growth of both domestic leagues and international representation. The Ligue Professionnelle 1 has become increasingly competitive, with clubs investing in facilities and youth development programs to nurture local talent.
With advances in technology and increased global exposure, Tunisia’s soccer scene is adapting to embrace new methods. Coaching, training, and sports science have become more sophisticated, contributing to a rise in the standard of play and competitiveness.
Women’s soccer in Tunisia has gained momentum in recent years, with the FTF providing support and resources to help develop the game. The Tunisian women’s national team is making strides, and increased participation in the sport bodes well for the future.
#5 Soccer and the Olympics
Soccer has been a part of the Olympic Games since its early days, with Tunisia taking part in the sport since the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Tunisia’s strongest Olympic soccer performance came in 1960 when they reached the quarterfinals, eventually losing to Yugoslavia.
The participation of Tunisia and other smaller soccer nations in the Olympic Games has helped to expand the sport’s global recognition and contributed to its growth in countries that may not have traditional soccer powerhouses. The Olympics provides a platform for up-and-coming talent to represent their nation and gain valuable international experience.
#6 Famous Athletes and Achievements
- Tarak Dhiab: The talented midfielder won the 1977 African Footballer of the Year award and was a significant part of Tunisia’s 1978 World Cup squad.
- Radhia Haddad: The first-ever African female referee, who officiated in various international competitions, including the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups.
- Youssef Msakni: An influential attacking midfielder known for his speed and skills, Msakni played a vital role in Tunisia’s international competitions and led his club, Espérance Sportive de Tunis, to multiple domestic titles.
- Wahbi Khazri: A versatile forward known for his goal-scoring ability and creativity, Khazri has represented Tunisia in numerous international competitions, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
#7 Where to watch Soccer
- Nessma TV, Wataniya TV, and Al Kass: Popular channels for broadcast and streaming of domestic league matches as well as international competitions involving the Tunisian national team.
- Stade Hamadi Agrebi: Home of Espérance Sportive de Tunis, the largest stadium in Tunisia with a seating capacity of over 60,000.
- Stade 7 Novembre de Radès: A multi-purpose venue with a capacity of 45,000, frequently hosting national team matches and major domestic cup finals in Tunisia.