Hannibal Mejbri recently missed out on featuring for Manchester United in the recently rotated side against Young Boys.
Alas, losing out on a few substitute minutes has given him an even richer experience, starring for his country in the inaugural FIFA Arab Cup.
Hannibal was in action yesterday in Qatar, as Tunisia took on Egypt in front of a half-full 40,000 stadium which had the atmosphere of a full house.
This was Hannibal’s fifth game of the tournament, following group games against Mauritania, Syria, UAE, and a quarter-final against Oman.
A last minute winner in this game courtesy of an Egypt own goal gave Tunisia the victory and booked a place in the final. Hannibal is just one win away from clinching international silverware.
The win for Hannibal was a sad result for former Manchester United assistant boss Carlos Queiroz, the Egypt manager.
Hannibal is ready
Hannibal has been a regular starter in this side at just 18. It is not a team made up of youngsters. Striker Naim Sliti, 29, leads the attack along with 28-year-old Seiffeddine Jaziri, and 31-year-old Ben Ifa in defence.
The young Manchester United prospect looks at ease in the team and is more than ready for ‘men’s football’. He earned his first international caps last summer and has continued to make a name for himself at this tournament.
He had to contend with some rough challenges from the Egypt players, and was able to pick himself up, dust himself off, and carry on, like a young Ronaldo. Hannibal is used to being singled out at United. His eye-catching hair helps him stand out, and this often brings him extra unwanted attention.
Hannibal made his first team debut for United at the end of last season. His performances at this tournament underline that he is ready for a bigger challenge than the under-23s.
The young attacker could be ideal for Ralf Rangnick’s 4-2-2-2 system, in either midfield role, although it is in the attacking number 10 role he has starred for Tunisia.
Hannibal played 81 minutes of the semi-final and will fancy his chances of featuring in the final on Saturday. He could well end up being called into Tunisia’s squad for the forthcoming AFCON tournament early next year too if the tournament goes ahead.
While that will limit his time to make a quick impression on Rangnick, returning to Carrington later this month with a winner’s medal will help him stand out. He is just one game away.
Here is a look at how Twitter reacted to Hannibal’s performance in the sem-final…
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