Where is Hannibal Mejbri? Why Tunisia and Man United midfielder is not at AFCON 2023

Hannibal Mejbri played a part in two memorable results for Tunisia at the 2022 World Cup, helping the North African side beat France 1-0 and hold Denmark to a goalless draw during a respectable group-stage showing.

But the 20-year-old established international is not a part of his country’s squad at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.

The 28th-ranked team in the world were drawn in Group E for the tournament in Ivory Coast, alongside Namibia, Mali and South Africa.

Here’s why Mejbri will not be involved in AFCON, what’s happened to the United prospect and his international manager’s reasoning for leaving him out.

MORE: AFCON 2023 fixtures, results, schedule, group tables

Where is Hannibal Mejbri? Why Tunisia midfielder is not at AFCON

Mejbri would almost certainly have added to his 27 caps and made his AFCON debut before ruling himself out of the tournament at the end of December.

Tunisia’s first game was against Namibia on January 16. “Hannibal told me that he did not feel ready for the African Cup of Nations because he is going through an important situation at his club,” manager Jalel Kadri said.

A loanee at Birmingham City in 2022/23, Mejbri was reportedly the subject of attempts by several clubs to sign him at the time, having made only one Premier League start for United during the 2023/24 season.

Mejbri Sevilla loan deal completed during AFCON

United announced that Mejbri had joined Sevilla on loan for the rest of the season a day before 2004 champions Tunisia began their AFCON campaign, wishing him good luck at the Spanish club.

Sevilla have endured a turbulent season, sitting a place above the Spanish top-flight relegation zone when Mejbri joined them.

Jose Luis Mendilibar started the season in charge but left on October 8, and successor Diego Alonso lasted 69 days before being sacked. Quique Sanchez Flores took over on December 18.

Will Sevilla make Hannibal Mejbri transfer permanent?

Sevilla’s option to buy Mejbri, who is under contract at United until 2025, is for a reported sum of £17.2m ($21.8m). The fee would put him among the 10 most expensive arrivals in the club’s history.

United are also said to have inserted a buy-back clause into the deal if his loan club decide to make the move permanent.

Premier League side Everton are said to have rivalled Sevilla to sign Mejbri on loan, and the Toffees could renew their interest if he returns to Old Trafford.

Mejbri’s last appearance for United came in their FA Cup third-round win at Wigan Athletic on January 8, replacing Rasmus Hojland during second-half added time.

MORE: Wigan vs Man United final score, result, highlights

Tunisia AFCON 2023 fixtures, Africa Cup of Nations record

Tunisia reached the knockout stage of AFCON 2021 despite losing two and winning only one of their group-stage games, qualifying as the third-best third-placed team from all of the groups.

They beat Nigeria in the round of 16 but were ousted at the quarterfinal stage for the seventh time in their history when Burkina Faso knocked them out.

Their one final appearance aside from that 2004 triumph came on home soil in 1965, and they have been semifinalists on four other occasions.

Here’s how their group-stage schedule looks. The Round of 16 takes place from Janaury 27-29, with the quarterfinals on February 2 and 3, the semifinals on February 7 and the final on February 11, a day after the third-place playoff.

Opponents (Fifa ranking) Date Time
Namibia (115) January 16 5 p.m. GMT / 12 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. AEDT* / 10.30 p.m. IST
Mali (51) January 20 8 p.m. GMT / 3 p.m. ET / 7 a.m. AEDT* / 1.30 a.m. IST*
South Africa (66) January 24 5 p.m. GMT / 12 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. AEDT* / 10.30 p.m. IST

* Match starts on following day.

Hannibal Mejbri Man United stats

Hannibal’s appearance against Burnley in September was his second start for the club, his full debut coming against Crystal Palace on the final day of the 2021/22 season.

He scored a piledriver against Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford shortly after coming on for one of his substitute appearances early in the 2023/24 campaign.

Season Team Games Goals Assists
2023/24* Man United 3 1 0
2022/23 Birmingham 41 1 6
2021/22 Man United 2 0 0

* Before joining Sevilla

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