After a far less entertaining game against Burundi on saturday at the ongoing AFCON 2019, coach of the super eagles, Gernot Rohr says he's optimistic of a better performance when they play their next group match.
The super eagles failed to hit the target throughout the first half of the game until former Watford marksman, Odion Ighalo gave Nigeria the goal that guaranteed the team's much needed three points in the 77'th minute.
The team attributed the paltry performance to the sickness suffered by key players just before the opening Group B fixture played at the Egyptian Mediterranean city of Alexandria
"We could not make a better performance because the team of Burundi was well organised, especially in the first half and we did not find our rhythm.
"I think we worked better in the second half because it took us a long time to come into the match, just as in the first half where we didn't have opportunities to score. We knew that Burundi was unbeaten during the qualifiers." Rohr said.
He added: "In our group, I think all the matches will be tough because these teams like home-based teams don't have anything to lose. Perhaps, they know if they could organise themselves well, they will make it difficult for us.
"Our plan was to make them tire with our passes which we missed in the first half. But in the second half, it worked better. Then we had to bring in Musa and Ighalo, who could not come in at the beginning of the match, as they were sick just like Samuel Kalu.
"In our preparation, we had big problems because half of the team had virus. In the last session, we lost two players, Jamiu Collins and Samuel Kalu, and that is why we had to struggle so much to win the game.
"Credit must also go to my colleague (Burundi coach), who did a good job for his side," he said.
"The goalkeeper did not concede a goal, which is a good one for him and for the team. He stopped Burundi in the first half from a wonderful opportunity. If you remembered, the Burundi striker was alone and he disturbed him from scoring. In this situation, he was really good.
"Then we know sometimes he also makes mistakes like what happened, especially when he had the ball and he wanted to quickly play it. I didn't like it but I believe he will try to make it better next time."
Rohr said Akpeyi got the number one shirt because "in the last three weeks, he was really so good during the training sessions and that is why today he is our number goalkeeper."
Meanwhile, Gernot Rohr had downplayed his team's chances of winning a fourth title at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
After lifting the trophy in 2013, expectations are high as the Super Eagles return after missing back-to-back tournaments in 2015 and 2017. The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president Amaju Pinnick had restated that the squad has been given all the necessary support to succeed.
Nigeria's next match is against Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium on Wednesday.