UNKNOWN QUANTITY: Cape Verde players train on Wednesday, ahead of their unexpected quarterfinal appearance on Saturday, when they play Ghana. Picture: REUTERS
UNKNOWN QUANTITY: Cape Verde players train on Wednesday, ahead of their unexpected quarterfinal appearance on Saturday, when they play Ghana. Picture: REUTERS

It would be easy to assume Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah was overjoyed to face the cup debutants in such a crucial encounter, but the Black Stars boss admitted to being nervous about the tournament’s underdogs following their shock progress from the group stages.

"I would have been more comfortable facing Côte d’Ivoire, to be honest," he said.

"When you are playing a team that has got nothing to lose, it’s difficult, because there is no pressure on them. That is the fear in me."

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Eagles are on a mission to cause a major upset by knocking favourites Côte d’Ivoire out of the 2013 Nations Cup. Nigeria and the Elephants meet in what is expected to be a quarterfinal thriller at Royal Bafokeng Stadium at 5pm in Rustenburg on Sunday.

Super Eagles first-choice goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama did not pull his punches when he said the Elephants would be knocked out.

"Côte d’Ivoire have reached the end of the road. We are going to attack them because we also want to make a name for ourselves. The last time Nigeria won the title was in 1994, with our current coach Stephen Keshi serving as captain.

"That’s a long time ago and its unacceptable for a team of Nigeria’s calibre. We aren’t intimidated by the fact that Côte d’Ivoire have assembled a team of world-class players.

"It will be great to play against top players like Didier Drogba, Yaya Toure, Gervinho, Kolo Toure and Didier Zokora," said Enyeama.

Aside from Enyeama, Nigeria have their own experienced players, such as John Obi Mikel and Joseph Yobo, capable of causing a major upset.

Despite the big names in Sunday’s other game, Togo believe there is a place in football history waiting for them. It’s this belief they will carry into their quarterfinal against Burkina Faso at the Mbombela Stadium on Sunday.

Just like Burkina Faso, the Togolese team came into the tournament as underdogs, but that status has changed, thanks to some convincing displays from both teams.

"We are all pleased with what we have achieved so far," Togo captain Emmanuel Adebayor said.

"We have a chance to create history. There is a place in history waiting for us."

Superstar Adebayor carries the hopes of his team and country on his broad shoulders.

With Ramatsiyi Moholoa, Kgomotso Sethusha