We respect Nigeria, but don’t fear them – Stuart Baxter
Stuart Baxter, head coach of South Africa during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals, quarter-finals South Africa press conference at Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 09 July 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Wednesday Jul 10, 2019. 13:15
South Africa coach Stuart Baxter says his side will have respect, but no fear for Nigeria ahead of the teams’ 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal.
The nations will meet at the Cairo International Stadium tonight (kick-off at 21:00 CAT), with the Super Eagles having claimed a 3-2 win over Cameroon in the previous round, while Bafana Bafana ousted hosts Egypt 1-0.
SA’s win over the Pharaohs prompted Nigeria manager Gernot Rohr to label Baxter’s team as favourites, but the English coach disagrees.
“Nigeria are absolutely one of the best teams on continent and have been for a long time. One game doesn’t make us favourites. I don’t think he’s [Rohr] fooling anybody,” Baxter told reporters on Tuesday.
“When we hit a balance between good organisation and getting on the ball and playing with pace and using our natural inherent technique we can give anybody a game.
“We’ll be respecting Nigeria but not fearing them. We will have to produce a very good South Africa performance to beat them.”
Baxter, on the subject of an expected low attendance at the match, added: “This is special now, you’re getting to the sharp end of the stick and it’s people that think like winners who will end up winning the tournament.
“I think we know we’ve got a tough opponent. I think we know we’ve got to be completely focused and I think we understand that it is going to take all the mental energy we can muster and not be dependent on getting up because the crowd is up.”