CAIRO – South Africa are not only favourites to beat the Super Eagles, but must now be considered outright tournament favourites after ousting hosts Egypt, Nigeria’s coach Gernot Rohr has declared ahead of his side’s crunch 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarterfinal meeting against Bayana Bayana at the Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday.
Bafana Bafana shocked pre-tournament favourites and hosts Egypt 1-0 in front of 75,000 people at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday to set up a quarter-final tie against Nigeria who beat defending champions, the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon to progress to the quarterfinals.
Rohr, whose team lost one and drew the other against South Africa during the 2019 AFCON qualifying series, said South Africa now have a much better team than the one his side encountered during the qualifiers and dispelled the notion that it is better for the Super Eagles to be facing South Africa than Egypt.
Nigeria’s coach said with Bafana Bafana having ousted pre-tournament favourites and hosts Egypt “without any help from the referee”, the 1996 AFCON winners must now be seen as the “number one favourites” to lift the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations having shown “they are better than Egypt”.
“South Africa is a better team than the team we played in November in Jo’burg. They have a better team now,” Rohr who is due to hold a pre-match press conference at the Cairo International Stadium today said.
“They have quick strikers and wingers, they have the center-forward (Lebo Mathiba) playing in France in Strasbourg, we know him very well they have experience in the centre defence. They 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 are beating them [Egypt] in Cairo in International Stadium [in front of] seventy-five thousand people. You must be very strong to do that.
“What they did, without any help from the referee without any luck they had the better team and so I heard some people say it’s good we don’t play Egypt, no, it’s not good because they are better than Egypt.”