Ahead of the mouth watering quarter final ties of the 2013 Africa Nations Cup, coaches and players from camps have spoken of their expectations and how they rate their chances against the opponents.
The quarter finals pits debutantes Cape Verde against four time winners Ghana, 1992 winners Cote d’voire versus Super Eagles of Nigeria, hosts South Africa up against Mali, 1998 hosts Burkina Faso take on Emmanuel Adebayor led Togo..
“They (Ghana) were the strongest team in Group B. We are happy to play against them because they are one of the best in Africa and at this stage of the competition we have to come up against such teams. We will now simply keep on working hard and try to win the next game,” Cape Verde Coach Luis Antunes on Ghana.
“We hope to go past Cote d’Ivoire and make it to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. The coach demands 110% for us at all times and on Sunday against Cote d’Ivoire, we will give 110%.” – Nigeria midfielder John Obi Mikel.
“We are not afraid of them. We respect them but why should we be afraid of them? This is football and no team is too big and we are very positive we will win on Sunday.” – Super Eagles striker Emmanuel Eminike.
“We’re looking forward to this game, it’s a game of 90 minutes and there will be no second chance for both teams,” – Nigerian Coach Stephen Keshi.
“It is going to be a very difficult game; we will have to remain focused. It is a quarter-final. The outcome will depend on small details. We will need to remain extremely focused.
I think that our chances are good. We will rely on our qualities. We will have to remain focused. We will also need a bit of luck and the help of God of course.” – Cote d’voire defender Kolo Toure on the clash with Nigeria.
“I must confess that it wouldn’t be an easy encounter because we’re facing the host nation South Africa. Eleven years ago we were in the same situation when we hosted the tournament in Mali. Hosting an AFCON generates a lot of ambition and support, and also inspires the host team to excel. However, it heaps much pressure on the home side.
We, the Eagles, are a young team and we have achieved our main objective of the tournament which was reaching the knockout stage. Now, the next possible step is to cross the quarterfinals into the semis. We are not scared of South Africa. We’ll play against them like we have been doing so far. We knocked co-hosts Gabon out of the 2012 Afcon and we can still do it again against hosts South Africa.” – Mali skipper Seydou Keita
Whose words will stay relevant at the end of the clashes?