John Enoh, the minister of sports development, Austin Okocha, and Super Eagles stars have condemned online attacks against Alex Iwobi after Nigeria suffered a 2-1 defeat to host nation Ivory Coast in the final of the 2023 African Cup of Nations.
Following the defeat, Nigerians have called out the Fulham midfielder for Nigeria’s defeat to Ivory Coast.
The outrage forced Iwobi to quit social media and delete all his posts and pictures.
“For me, I have taken myself out of social media after yesterday’s game,” Iwobi said.
There have also been reports of the former Arsenal star considering quitting the national team.
But the sports minister has reassured Iwobi of Nigerians’ unwavering support and encouraged him to remain strong.
“You did your best for your country and I am proud of you. The leadership and the rest of the country are proud of you,” the sports minister said.
“Those who are not are in the far minority and do not speak for the rest of our country, so just be strong.
“You did your best, you are part of a team that brought home a silver medal which the country last won at AFCON 2000, which is 23 years ago. You put in your best, thank you very much.”
Iwobi also received support from former international, JayJay Okocha, who was part of the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 AFCON to kick against the cyberbully and drum support for Iwobi who happens to be his cousin after Nigeria’s 2023 AFCON loss to Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations final match.
‘’I pray for my country Nigeria and the people that can only hate and see nothing good in others when effort counts for nothing, treat people the way you want them to treat you, all we have is this life is each other, ” Okocha wrote on his Instagram account as reported by Punch Newspaper.
“We love you #alexanderiwobi and we keep going no matter what they say, the Lord is good all the time and we trust that he will be done in our lives amen.”
Also, Ahmed Musa, Super Eagles captain rallied around Iwobi, criticising the cyberbullying of players, and begged Nigerian fans to stop attacking Iwobi
Musa on his official X has made a passionate appeal to the fans urging them to stop the attacks at Iwobi.
“Dear fans, I want to please urge you to halt the cyber-bullying directed towards Alex Iwobi. Cyberbullying is not just a violation of decency but also a serious crime. It’s hypocritical to claim that football unites us while engaging in such behaviour,” Musa said.
“Losing a game is undoubtedly tough, but targeting a single player for the team’s shortcomings is unfair and unjust. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. Alex gave his all on the field, just like every member of our squad.
“Instead of spreading negativity, let’s show genuine love and support to our players. They need our encouragement now more than ever. Let’s uplift each other and stand united, both in victory and defeat. THANKS”
William Troost-Ekong scored the opening goal for Nigeria in the final and won the Man Of The Tournament for the 2023 AFCON and Kenneth Omeruo also echoed Musa’s support for Iwobi.
“We’re with you Skippo!”, AFCON MVP Troost-Ekong reposted on X
“We win together. We lose together. We are all one. Some of our fans should do better,” Kenneth Omeruo said.
“@alexiwobi, stay strong bro.. You are a baller.”
Since making his debut for Nigeria in 2015, Iwobi has made 76 appearances, scored 10 goals, and created four assists for the Super Eagles.