South Africa coach, Stuart Baxter has reacted to a statement made by Super Eagles coach Gernot Rohr ahead of their encounter with Nigeria in the ongoing AFCON 2019 Tournament in Egypt.
Gernot Rohr had stated that South Africa are favourites in the encounter due to the fact that they defeated Egypt right in Egypt.
”They (South Africa) were the better team against Egypt so when you’re a better team than Egypt, you are becoming the favourite of the tournament because everybody said before its Egypt the favourite number one.
”They beat Egypt in Egypt so they are now the favourite number one. We are not the favourite against South Africa (because) they beat them (Egypt) in Cairo in International Stadium (in front of) seventy-five thousand people. You must be very strong to do that”, he said.
In response, Baxter was quoted saying:
“I don’t think Rohr is 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.
Speaking about the tactics to be deployed by the South Africans, Baxter said:
“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. And we’ll absolutely not think that we’re the favourites.”