South Africa coach Stuart Baxter has hit back Super Eagles manager Gernot Rohr ahead of the sides’ quarter-final match-up on Wednesday night at Cairo International Stadium.
The Bafana Bafana reach the last-eight encounters after beating Egypt in the previous round, while Nigeria scale through the courtesy of Odion Ighalo brace and Alex Iwobi fine finishing against Cameroon which set up the heightened the anticipation of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations clash.
The German tactician said in his press conference that South Africa are the favourites to win the quarter-finals encounter following their 1-0 win over tournament favourites” and host nations in the round of 16.
However, in a rebuttal, Bafana Bafana coach Baxter returned the compliment with a slight dig as he answered, according to SAFA.net: “I don’t think he’s fooling anybody,”
“Not at all. I think the Nigerians are absolutely one of the best teams on the continent. They have been for a long time,”
“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 a 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.”