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Tarak Dhiab

Tarak Dhiab (طارق ذياب, born July 15, 1954) is a former footballer from Tunisia. The African Footballer of the Year in 1977, he is listed by the Fédération Tunisienne de Football as having 107 caps for the Tunisian national football team, although this number has not been ratified by FIFA. At the 1978 FIFA World Cup, he was a member of the Tunisian national team that was the first national team from African to win a World Cup match.


Early life

Dhiab's football talent was discovered by his uncle, Hedi Dhiab, who developed Tarak's ambidextrousness. Dhiab joined the Tunisian club team Espérance Sportive de Tunis.

Soccer career

Dhiab assumed the midfield role with superb passing skills and an excellent scoring record from midfield. He formed a sound understanding with winger Témime Lahzami both at Espérance and on the Tunisian national team.

Dhiab was awarded the African Footballer of the Year title in 1977 and played a pivotal role in helping Tunisia qualifying for the 1978 FIFA World Cup. At the World Cup, Tunisia won a group stage match 3-1 against Mexico, becoming the first national team from Africa to win a match at the World Cup. In coverage relating to the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Dhiab was mentioned as Tunisia's "World Cup legend" by the BBC and as one of Tunisia's greatest World Cup players by the CBC.

He is widely regarded as one of Tunisia's all-time greats, and arguably the greatest midfield playmaker the country has produced. Though he never played in a major European league, many believe he was able to hold his own among international playmakers in this period. Dhiab's international career spanned 15 years; his final international match came against England in 1990.

Personal life

Dhiab's younger brother Lassad Dhiab also followed his footsteps and joined Esperance, having a productive career.

Dhiab is now a television football analyst. He is also a businessman, and Tunisian magazine Réalités reported in 2004 that he was trying to start his own satellite sports channel.


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