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24 May 2012
London Olympic will be another dream for the 39 y old Tunisian attacker Noureddine Hfaiedh but it may not be the last for the African veteran who wants to continue playing beyond forty.
When Hfaiedh was only 14 y old boy in his hometown Haouaria he was thinking to live the day when he represents his country in the Olympic Games but the dream was realistic when he led the national team to the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
But when Tunisia lost the African Nations Championship against their rivals Egypt in South Africa 2007 all the Tunisian officials thought that it was the end of the international career for the Tunisian star except him.
Hfaiedh led Tunisia to three African Championship victories in 1997, 1999 and 2003 and was chosen the MVP in the last competition when he led his team to a straight sets victory against Egypt in front of their spectators before Egypt started their golden generation in 2005 in a series of four successive gold medals. This led to a decision from the Tunisian federation in 2007 to put the end of the international career to most of the old players including Hfaiedh.
But the experienced veteran was enthusiastic enough to continue his way with the national team when he returned back in 2011 after 4 years to draw another positive history with Tunisia through the great victory in the African Olympic Qualifications.
“We knew that the four successive time African champions Egypt were the biggest favourites to London 2012 Olympic Games berth but we decided to break all the expectations to win the qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon,” Hfaiedh said. “Our coach Fethi Mkaouer told us to entertain playing volleyball without any stress and it was the first step towards the dream. After we won hosts Cameroon in the final day of the qualifications he came to me to thank me for the leadership and I was happy when he pushed me to do the same role in London.”
The Tunisian all-time best volleyball player started his international career in the 90th decade when he played with the youth and junior teams before playing with the first team when he was only 18 y.
In his long career he played more than 250 games including three World Cup participations in 1999, 2003 and 2007, two World Championships in 2002 and 2006 and the Olympic Games in 2004. He led Tunisia in 6 editions of the Continental championship gaining the gold medal in three of them.
Volleyball is becoming more and more popular in Tunisia to the extent that it now competes with football for the position of the nation’s favourite sport and now Hfaiedh is more famous than the footballers of his country due to his long effective international outcome.
He likes the Italian food, the action movies and enjoys playing with his young kid in his free time.
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