Tunisia call-up for Ayman Ben Mohamed

Ayman Ben Mohamed - by Eddie Lennon

Ayman Ben Mohamed has welcomed his first call-up by the Tunisian national team.

The Bohemians winger has been included in the Tunisia squad who travel to face Djibouti in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on June 3.

The London-born 21-year-old, who moved to Ireland with his family when he was two, qualifies for Tunisia through his father Lotfi, who is originally from the Tunisian capital Tunis.

Ben Mohamed said: “I’m delighted. Nobody saw it coming. I’ve had lots of relatives on congratulating me – it’s huge for me and my family.

“It’s one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced in football. I’ll be training and competing with players from the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga.

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“That is an incredible opportunity for me and it is good for the profile of the club and league too. It shows we have a good stage here to develop.”

Ben Mohamed has just completed his second year of a four-year Business, Economics and Social Studies (BESS) degree at Trinity College.

He said: “I sat the last of my summer exams yesterday, so I’m looking forward to concentrating on my football for the next few months.”

The call-up means that Bohs will be without their star man for league clashes with St Patrick’s Athletic on May 29 and Wexford Youths on June 3.

But manager Keith Long, who signed Ben Mohamed from Longford Town at the start of the season, is delighted with the recognition his player has received.

Long said: “He’ll miss two games for us but it’s great for him and the club. He’s been a real breath of fresh air and I’m delighted for him.

“He’s a real throwback to an old-school winger. He loves to take players on and he has a bit of pace about him too.

“He came to the club to improve and develop as a player, so it’s deserved recognition for the contribution he’s made.”

Tunisia sit joint second with Togo in their four-team Africa Cup of Nations qualifying group on seven points, two points behind leaders Liberia, after four games each.

Next month’s opposition Djibouti, who Tunisia defeated 8-1 when the sides met last year, are rooted bottom with no points.

Group winners qualify automatically, while the the two best-ranked second-placed countries from 11 four-team qualifying groups will also travel to the 2017 tournament in Gabon.

Ben Mohamed added: “Djibouti obviously aren’t one of the stronger teams in Africa and Tunisia will be expected to beat them comfortably again.”

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