The mind games between Gernot Rohr and Stuart Baxter ahead of the sides’ quarter-final match-up on Wednesday has reached epic proportions and has heightened the anticipation of the AFCON clash.
In his pre-match presser Rohr had referred to Bafana Bafana as favorites following the 1-0 win over “number one favorites” and host Egypt in the round of 16.
Rohr suggests the crown now falls to the South African team after defeating his tournament’s favorite.
However, in a rebuttal Bafana Head Coach Stuart Baxter returned the compliment with a slight dig, ” I don’t think he’s fooling anybody,” he said in his presser.
“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.”