Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a winger for Premier League club Everton and the Nigeria national team Alexander Chuka Iwobi professionally as Alex Iwobi after being threatened and criticized by fans for being the cause of the Super Eagle’s exit in AFCON knockout stage has rendered his immense sympathy and encouraged to do better next time.
Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye, and midfielder, Alex Iwobi, were subjected to cyberbullying by fans, including death threats, after Nigeria’s exit from the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon on Sunday following a 1-0 defeat to Tunisia.
Youssef Msakni scored the only goal of the encounter with a strike from 25 yards out to fire Tunisia to the last eight and break Nigerian hearts.
Some fans felt Okoye should have saved Msakni’s effort, while Iwobi was sent off for a foul after just six minutes on the pitch for what was deemed to be a dangerous tackle.
Iwobi had been sent into the game in the 59th minute for Kelechi Iheanacho to help change the complexity of the game, but his sending off further piled pressure on the midfield and the defense.
An Instagram user @Clifford_Marius under a picture posted by Okoye wrote, “It will not be well with you. I pray you don’t see next month, you will die in a plane crash.”
@la_isle on Instagram wrote, “Maduka, you will not live long. You sold this AFCON match to the Tunisians.”
@pelexofLagos wrote, “Maduka Okoye, God will punish you and your family, your incompetence cost us AFCON.”
Striker Sadiq Umar had also been a subject of online bullying over his performance in some of the country’s group stage games.
Okoye and Iwobi were also subjects of social media memes.
However, they took individual action to reduce the effects of the abuses, with Okoye restricting comments on his Instagram handle, while Iwobi deleted all pictures on his page.
The Everton midfielder had previously deactivated his Twitter following the online abuses but recently took to his social media handles saying…
“Moments of joy can quickly turn into pain and anguish. As much as it’s a part of football, we came for more…Our fans who shared these moments with us both in Cameroon and across the world deserved more! The beauty of the game is the next moment of jubilation is never too far around the corner. We will be back to fight for our nation, Stronger. We owe it to you, and I owe it to myself. Thank you for all the words of support & encouragement – it doesn’t go unnoticed”.