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South Africa head coach Baxter plays down favourites tag

South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter has played down his side being labelled as favourites for the Africa Cup of Nations title by Nigeria boss Gernot Rohr ahead of their quarter-final showdown.

The Bafana Bafana produced a shock 1-0 win over hosts Egypt in their last 16 clash at the Cairo International Stadium, which resulted in the Pharaohs sacking head coach Javier Aguirre.

Rohr claimed South Africa’s victory, courtesy of a late goal from Thembinkosi Lorch, meant they had “become the competition’s favourite”.

Baxter, though, was not about to be drawn into mind games as his side look to continue their progress – having only qualified for the knock-out stages ranked fourth of the best third-placed teams.

“Nigeria are absolutely one of the best teams on the continent and have been for a long time. One game doesn’t make us favourites. I don’t think he (Rohr) is fooling anybody,” the South Africa coach said at a press conference.

“We’ll be respecting Nigeria, but not fearing them. We will have to produce a very good South Africa performance to beat them.”

Rohr will not underestimate the challenge ahead for the Super Eagles.

“When you beat a strong team like Egypt, you become the competition’s favourite,” he said.

“We have a huge game in front of us, therefore we are expecting a top quality match.”