Super Eagles captain John Mikel Obi has heaped plaudits on Burundi players for their battling display in Saturday’s Group B clash at the Alexandria Stadium, reports Completesports.com.
Nigeria won the highly competitive encounter 1-0 courtesy of Odion Ighalo’s 77th minute strike.
Olivier Niyungeko’s men produced an inspiring performance against the Super Eagles in what was their first ever Africa Cup of Nations match.
Having qualified for the continental showpiece without a single defeat from a group which had the likes of Mali and Gabon, the Swallows truly proved in the game that their feat in the qualifiers wasn’t a fluke.
“Yeah, it’s not an easy group, it’s a very tough group,” Mikel told reporters after the game.
“You can see from today – they [Burundi] are a very organized team, very tough to break down. We were lucky to get the goal.
“I think we played well. We had most of the ball, but we couldn’t break them down – we couldn’t get the goal. So it was very crucial for us to get these three points today.”
Mikel hopes the Super Eagles can win their game against the Syli Nationale of Guinea which will ultimately ensure their qualification into the Round of 16.
“We need to try again to win the next game. We need to try also to win the second game and hopefully qualify from this group as quickly as possible – and then look forward to the next stage,” the 32-year-old midfielder added.
Gernot Rohr’s men who top the Group B standings with three points will take on Guinea in their next game on Wednesday at the Alexandria Stadium.
By Adeboye Amosu