Esperance suffer in Ghana defender Afful's absence, coach sacked
Tunisian giants Esperance are suffering without their Ghana utility player Harrison Afful which has resulted in the sacking their coach Ruud Krol after a disastrous start in the African Champions League group phase.
Afful, who is the key player for Esperance, has left the Tunisian champions to join the Ghana team preparing in Holland for the World Cup next month.
His absence has created a gaping hole in the club’s midfield where Afful has been deployed in recent matches even though he played at both left-back positions effectively.
Afful’s absence has been exploited to full effect by their opponents and Esperance’s Dutch coach has paid the price for the club’s two defeats in Group B.
Esperance made a disastrous start last weekend, slumping 2-1 at home to fellow former Champions League winners Entente Setif of Algeria.
On Saturday, the Tunisians suffered a second successive defeat, crashing 3-2 to Libyans Al-Ahly Benghazi.
The match took place in Sfax in Tunisia on security grounds.
Krol, the former Netherlands World Cup captain, only joined Esperance in January on a three-year deal.
Previously, he had coached another Tunisian side, CS Sfaxien, who he lead to the Confederation Cup last November.
He replaced Frenchman Sebastien Desabre, who took up the role of technical director.
Krol’s backroom staff have also been dismissed.
Desabre will now take charge of Esperance’s team affairs. The club say they will name Desabre’s assistants in due course.
Esperance are the most successful club in Tunisian league history. They have also won the African Champions League on two previous occasions.
They are one of two clubs, along with Sfaxien, representing Tunisia in this year’s African Champions League.
Afful is likely to move to France after playing at the World Cup.