Saturday Jun 22, 2019. 13:00
Nigeria national team manager Gernot Rohr says winning their opening match at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be key to their hopes.
The Super Eagles will open their Group B campaign with a clash against Burundi in Alexandria this evening, with the three-time Nations Cup champions heavy favourites to claim all three points.
“Beating Burundi in the first game will help stabilise the team,” Rohr said in his pre-match press conference.
"But we are aware that at this point every team wants to establish its supremacy in the first game and so Burundi will not be an easy task. We are ready to face any opponent in Egypt.
"My major target now is to get the team to work as a unit and be psychologically prepared to win the first game against Burundi.
“Winning the first game is very important for the Eagles because it would instil more confidence in the players."
Rohr’s counterpart, Olivier Niyungeko, has spoken of the Swallows’ confidence ahead of what will be their first match in AFCON tournament history.
“When you get to this stage of the competition – you are free to dream for greater things,” he told Foot224.
“You don’t have to go there [the AFCON] saying ‘I am with the top teams’. Qualifying to the tournament is not an easy thing. I tell my players, ‘you can achieve something great’.
“We have to show that what we did [in the qualifiers] was not by luck.
“We have to face every game with confidence in order to win matches.”