The Newcastle United ace lasted the entire duration, winning the Man of the Match award, as the Black Stars claimed a 1-0 victory at Stade de Port-Gentil.
Andre Ayew scored the solitary goal from the spot, but Atsu was left ruing several misses during the game.
“I keep working and keep praying to do my best," Atsu said, as reported by Pulse Ghana.
"I was a bit tired but as the tournament goes on, we will get better and be able to play for longer periods.
"Personally, I am disappointed I was not on the score sheet.
"I got great chances to score but the win is all that matters
"We were hoping to score more than just a goal in that game.
"In 2015, we lost our first game and won the last two, but this time, a win in this game makes things much easier for us."
Atsu is expected to be in action when Ghana face Mali in their second group game on Saturday.
The Ada-Foah-born won the Best Player and Goal of the Tournament awards at the 2015 Afcon held in Equatorial Guinea.