Tunisia must overcome the loss of two key attacking threats, forwards Saber Khalifa and Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, who were late withdrawals from the squad because of injury.
Both were hurt in last week’s 1-1 friendly draw with Algeria, and there will now be more pressure on Bordeaux winger Wahbi Khazri to lead the 2004 continental champions after he starred in qualifying.
The injuries have contributed to a difficult week which has also seen Tunisia endure problems with their accommodation in Equatorial Guinea.
“We have seen some strange things since arriving at our hotel, like a power cut that meant we had to eat our dinner under candlelight,” experienced Belgian coach Georges Leekens told Tunisian media.
“It is a very sad situation and it has upset the players’ concentration just before an important competition like the Afcon.
“Our objective is to build on the progress we have already made. The players are determined and confident that they can stand up to the challenge.”
Meanwhile, Rui Aguas, the Portuguese coach of Cape Verde, said the Blue Sharks are determined to match their famous run to the quarter-finals in South Africa two years ago.
“The other three teams are strong and more experienced, but we will do our best to shine and getting through the group stage has to be an objective,” said Aguas.
- Cape Verde and Tunisia won away against each other in a 2014 World Cup qualifying group won by the North Africans after the table-topping islanders were deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player
- The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia are making a 12th consecutive appearance at the Cup of Nations, but seven-time African champions Egypt hold the record with 14 in a row
- Bulgaria-based midfielder Platini – real name Luis Carlos Almada Soares – is one of many Cape Verdeans who prefer a nickname. His honours former France superstar and current Uefa president Michel Platini.
- Tunisia coach George Leekens, a stern-faced 65-year-old, is one of two Belgian handlers at the 2015 tournament with compatriot Paul Put guiding Group A contenders Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde coach Rui Aguas has played for and been assistant coach of his native Portugal. The playing career of the 54-year-old included spells at top clubs Benfica and Porto