South Africa head coach Stuart Baxter says he has total respect for the Super Eagles, but insists his team will be bold in their approach when they come up against the three-time champions in Wednesday’s quarterfinal clash at the Cairo International Stadium.
The Bafana Bafana have only defeated the Super Eagles only once in a competitive game. They stunned Eagles with a 2-0 win in Uyo in the qualifiers for AFCON 2019. The reverse fixture in South Africa ended 1-1.
While the Super Eagles are one of the overwhelming favourites to win the competition, the Bafana Bafana who pulled one of the competition’s remarkable results by knocking out hosts Egypt, are given an outside chance.
There is also a gulf in class between both teams with Nigeria flaunting a number of Super Eagles players playing for top clubs in Europe.
Baxter expresses his admiration for the Nigerian team while also hinting that his team will not be intimidated by their opponents.
“We definitely respect the Super Eagles, but not afraid of them. They are one of the Superpowers in African football, and we have to respect that, but on the pitch things will be different, ” Baxter told a news conference in Cairo on Tuesday.
“It is true that we got a good result against Egypt, but we have to stay gounded. We may have to try different things from what we did against Nigeria in the past, but we are confident of beating them again.
To beat the Super Eagles, Baxter’s men must find a way of stopping Odion Ighalo, who is the joint top scorer in the competition with three goals alongside Senegal’s Saido Mane.
Baxter says Bafana Bafana will find a way of stopping Igho who is in great form.
“We don’t make plans to stop individual players, rather we will do it as a team. We will find a way of stopping the ball from getting to him. It is up to our back four to do that. The midfielders too have to help screen the defence,” he stated.