Daniel Akpeyi defended his teammates from criticism following Nigeria’s 2-1 defeat to Algeria in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) semi-final.
The Super Eagles looked to be in with a great chance of beating Djamel Belmadi’s men to reach the competition’s final after dismissing South Africa in the quarter-final.
However, a Riyad Mahrez last-minute free-kick sent Gernot Rohr’s men crashing after Odion Ighalo had erased Willam Troost-Ekong’s own goal.
Rohr’s team faced the wrath of fans for offering precious little in Cairo, but Akpeyi believes otherwise.
“It’s very tough and very sad that we have to lose in that manner, to have conceded through that kind of free-kick,” Akpeyi told the media in Egypt.
“I wish there can be a replay but it’s over now and we have to look up to the third-place game.
“So far, it doesn’t matter whatever anyone would say about the team. These players have actually tried.
“A lot of teams have been knocked out of this competition but we are still here.
“We have very young talent and I’m very sure if this team can be given a chance, we’ll be able to fix things.”
Nigeria will battle Tunisia in Thursday’s third-place encounter. The Super Eagles have won each of their six third-place games in Afcon while keeping a clean sheet in four of these ties.