Tuesday, February 05, 2013
''WE WILL NOT UNDERATE MALI'' JOSEPH YOBO DECLARES
Skipper of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Joseph Yobo says there will be no favourites when his side face Mali in the semifinal of the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Wednesday night.
The Super Eagles edged favourites Ivory Coast 2-1 in their quarterfinal on Sunday to book a meeting with the Eagles of Mali, who had beaten hosts South Africa 3-1 on penalties a day earlier.
However, Yobo says his side will not be less motivated than they were prior to their match against the Elephants.
“I think that getting to the semifinal stage every team is motivated and history doesn’t really count,” said Yobo.
“Every nation that is here right now is trying to get to the finals before they can think about winning the tournament.
‘We know the Malians are going to be a tough team to play against, they know us as well.
“I think there are no favourites, there will be 90 minutes and maybe extra time to play and whoever comes out as winners will go to the final.
“We want to go to the final so we’ll do everything that we have to do, like we did in the last game. Every game is a must-win game so there is a lot of motivation there.”
The two West African rivals have met on a number of occasions, including the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations, a match which ended 2-1 in favour of Nigeria, before playing to a 0-0 draw two years later.
However, Yobo believes there’s nothing much between the two sides as they will match each other physically, while they are also blessed with skillful and experienced players.
“It’s a special game between two big nations and there are no big differences in the manner that we play,’ he said.
“Both sides a physically and tactically strong so it’s going to be an interesting game.
“We have confidence because we won a big game against the Ivory Coast and hopefully we can carry it into the next game, but we don’t underrate Mali.”