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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2019: Super Eagles battled virus before Burundi victory, says coach Gernot Rohr

4:46 PM EDT 6/22/19
Nigeria v. Argentina - Gernot Rohr
The German tactician stated that his players were faced with health challenges before their Afcon opener on Saturday

Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has revealed that several of the players in his 23-man squad were sick in the buildup to Saturday’s Africa Cup of Nations opener against Burundi.

The Super Eagles overcame the Central African nation with a 1-0 win, thanks to Odion Ighalo’s 77th-minute goal at the Alexandria Stadium, which got their campaign off to a winning start.

Samuel Kalu was ruled out of the game after collapsing in training, while Jamiliu Collins was reportedly sick.

During Saturday's game, Nigeria were dealt another blow when Abdullahi Shehu was stretchered off due to an injury towards the end of the first-half.

Speaking to the media after the match, Rohr revealed the motivation which led the team to claim maximum points in their opening Group A game.

"Our plan was to bring in Ighalo when the other team, perhaps, gives us more space. But we had problems, physically," Rohr said.

“So many players were sick in the last two weeks, it was a virus. Half of my team had fever and could not train.

“Ahmed Musa also and Shehu could not stay beyond the first half, yesterday we lost two players in the training session. The solidarity of the team makes a difference.”

Nigeria will hope to have a strengthened selection when they face Guinea on Wednesday in for their next Group B fixture.