The Elephants lived up to their favourites' tag in the group stages, certainly in terms of results as they won three out of three games to top Group B.
However, Zahoui expects a tough test for his side against the co-hosts, who will have the backing of the home crowd in Malabo.
He told caf-online.com: "When you carry the tag of favourites it's hard. Our experience - you can't buy that. It's priceless. We mustn't panic. We'll be up against a team backed by their fans, and that's a not insignificant plus for them. I know we'll suffer, but what interests me is that we win.
"The first mistake is to consider this a weak side. Against Sudan we only won 1-0.
"Football is not only about technique, there's the physical condition, tactics, mental strength.
"Equatorial Guinea will be very realistic, very careful. They have fast strikers up front and a solid defensive block.
"We'll have to be patient, and not get upset. The environment will be hostile."
Equatorial Guinea are set to welcome back Laurence Doe from suspension and Iban 'Randy' Iyanga, plus rested full-back David Alvarez for the Ivory Coast match.
Their midfielder Javier Balboa admits the Elephants were the quarter-final opponents the co-hosts dreaded.
"I wish we could have met Ivory Coast in the final rather than now," he told caf-online.com.
"It is not that we cannot beat them, but their status as a star-studded team is very formidable. There are very high expectations of us across the country."