Former Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo believes Ahmed Musa and Odion Ighalo should have been included in the starting XI against Burundi on Saturday.
The introduction of the two players boosted the Super Eagles' charge to secure a 1-0 win over Olivier Niyungeko's side.
With the score tied at 0-0, Musa was introduced for captain John Obi Mikel in the 58th minute while Ighalo replaced Paul Onuachu in the 73rd minute.
Four minutes after his introduction, the Shanghai Shenhua attacker broke the deadlock at the Alexandria Stadium after receiving a delightful backheel pass from Ola Aina.
In his reaction to the result, Yobo identified Musa and Ighalo as important players in Gernot Rohr's squad who would have given the team a strong start in the first half.
"The two players who came on [in the second half] should have started the game because they have the experience, Ighalo and Musa. Ighalo with his experience at the World Cup and everything," Yobo told SuperSport .
"These are new players coming in, sometimes they don't have the structure. The structure that is there when you take out two of the most important players in the team. Musa is important and Ighalo is the main man that everything has to go around with his performance in the qualifiers.
"Sometimes when you see these players not started, it takes time for the team to get used to a new pattern of play and that's what we saw in the first half.
"The second half, when the changes were made, we got better. It doesn't mean those that started the game are not very good as well but sometimes coming into the Afcon, you're building a new team.
"They haven't been with the team for a while, as much as they are good, it might take them some time so it is safe when your strong players, players that can win you games when they are ready, it is always good to throw them in. It gives you a better chance."
Nigeria currently sit at the summit of Group B after gathering three points in their opening match. They will take on Guinea in their next group fixture on Wednesday at the Alexandria Stadium.