Baxter plays down favourites tag
Bafana Bafana coach Stuart Baxter says Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr 'isn't fooling anyone' by labelling South Africa as favourites ahead of the sides' AFCON quarter-final.
Expectations have been raised in the wake of Bafana's 1-0 victory over hosts Egypt last Saturday, leading Rohr to say his Super Eagles side would go in to the match as underdogs.
But Baxter vehemently disagreed with his counterpart's assessment ahead of the last-eight clash on Wednesday evening at Cairo International Stadium.
"Not at all. I think the Nigerians are absolutely one of the best teams on the continent. They have been for a long time," he answered, according to SAFA.net.
"They have been a powerhouse of African football for a long time. And one game doesn't make us favourites.
"I think Gernot would love to have that tag as underdogs‚ and in that way slip the pressure from you guys (Nigeria). But I don't think he's fooling anybody, to tell you the truth.
"No‚ we'll go into the game as we do every game. When we hit that balance between good organisation and still getting the ball in play and playing with pace‚ and closing people down at pace‚ and using the natural inherent ability and technique‚ we can give anybody on this continent a good game.
"Therefore, we go into every game knowing that we have the chance to win and the chance to lose. And that is how we'll approach this game. We'll respect Nigeria and not fear them. And we'll absolutely not think that we're the favourites.
"We will know that we have to produce a very good South Africa performance if we're going to beat them."