Ivory Coast-born Fousseny Coulibaly is included in a Tunisia training squad

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Fousseny Coulibaly
Ivorian-born Fousseny Coulibaly has played in Tunisia since August 2013

Ivory Coast-born midfielder Fousseny Coulibaly has been included in a 27-man Tunisian squad for their initial 2018 World Cup preparations.

The Esperance star was encouraged earlier this month to apply for Tunisian naturalisation after impressing the country's national coach Nabil Maaloul.

Once a decision has been made on his Tunisian citizenship the 25-year-old will still need clearance from Fifa in order to swap allegiances from Ivory Coast.

He played for Ivory Coast in a 2014 African Nations Championship (CHAN) qualifier against Nigeria in July 2013.

Shortly after that in August 2013 Coulibaly joined Tunisian side US Monastir and has been in the country ever since but is yet to satisfy another Fifa regulation.

Football's world governing body says any player acquiring a new citizenship needs to have "lived continuously for at least five years after reaching the age of 18 on the territory of the relevant association."

While Coulibaly awaits the outcome of his application he has been included in a training campexternal-link which runs from 1 January until 18 January 2018.

The 27-man selection is exclusively for the locally-based Carthage Eagles as Maaloul runs the rule over the domestic stars.

Coulibaly, who has also played for Stade Tunisien, has been impressive for Esperance in recent years.

He helped them win the Tunisian Cup in 2016, the Tunisian League and Arab Champions League titles this year.

Tunisia training squad:

Goalkeepers: Aymen Mathlouthi (ES Sahel), Moez Ben Cherifia (ES Tunis), Saiefeddine Charfi (Club Africain), Makrem Bdiri (US Monastirienne).

Defenders: Hamdi Nagguez and Rami Bedoui (ES Sahel), Hamza Mathlouthi and Yassine Meriah (CS Sfaxien), Walid Hicheri (US Monastirienne), Jassem Khemiri (Stade Tunisien), Khalil Chammam (ES Tunis), Ali Abdi (Club Africain).

Midfielders: Mohamed Amine Ben Amor and Aymen Trabelsi (ES Sahel), Karim Aouadhi (CS Sfaxien), Ahmed Khlil (Club Africain), Ferjani Sassi, Ghaylene Chaalali and Fousseny Coulibaly (ES Tunis).

Forwards: Anice Badri, Maher Bessghaier and Taha Yassine Khenissi (ES Tunis), Firas Belarbi (CA Bizertin), Aleddine Marzouki and Firas Chaouat (CS Sfaxien), Zied Aounalli (CA Bizertin), Saber Khalifa (Club Africain).

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