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Nigeria and South Africa coaches play fast and loose with 'favourite' tag

Nigeria boss José Peseiro and his South Africa counterpart Hugo Broos on Tuesday toyed with the notion of which side was favourite to advance to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Peseiro's squad - at 42 - are the highest ranked outfit left in the tournament in Cote d'Ivoire. Wenesday night's opponents in Bouaké lie 24 places beneath them in the Fifa rankings.

"We're happy and motivated to play in the semi-final," said Broos. "For many people it is unexpected. It's more than 20 years since South Africa was in the last four.

"I think Nigeria are the favourites but it's not always the favourites that win."

Broos's side needed a penalty shoot-out to see off Cape Verde in the quarter-final. In the last-16, they outwitted the World Cup semi-finalists Morocco who imploded during 90 minutes with a missed penalty and a man sent off.

"We will be playing another very good team," Broos added.

Peseiro, whose side has been hailed for conceding only one goal in its five matches, returned the compliment on the eve of the clash at the Stade de la Paix.

"We must play a high level match as we know the power of the opponent," said the 63-year-old Portuguese.

"Everyone said Morocco will beat them because they have players in the top European leagues. What happened? Morocco lost.


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