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‘Allow Iwobi breathe’, Nigerians drum support for Super Eagles star

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'Allow Iwobi breathe', Nigerians drum support for Super Eagles star

Nigerians have taken to social media to drum up support for Super Eagles player Alex Iwobi after the Fulham star was blamed for Nigeria’s loss against Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations 2023 final on Sunday.

Iwobi suffered backlash from Netizens who alleged that his “dismal” performance at the tournament contributed to Nigeria’s woes on Sunday.

With many alleging that the former Everton star gets his spot in the Super Eagles team solely for being the nephew of Nigerian legend Austin Jay Jay Okocha, Iwobi was forced to delete all his Instagram photos due to the backlashes aimed at him.

However, reacting to the criticisms poured on the Nigerian midfielder, Pooja, a social media influencer, wrote in a post on X on Monday, “Iwobi deletes all his pictures on Instagram as fans continue to drop hate comments on the old photos. This is actually sad. We can do better.”

For Faith Suzy, she expressed her love for the former Arsenal star when she wrote, “Hello, fine boy, Iwobi, just know that you are loved, okay? My country people can be too emotional; gosh, it’s just a football game; make we no too take life too seriously like that. Let the fine boy  breathe.”

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She added that “the bullying and harassment are too much. Let’s not forget that Iwobi is still our boy. Please, the bullying should stop. Na fine him fine, he no kpai anybody abeg.”

Abidem noted that the loss was by no means Iwobi’s fault when he said, “It wasn’t his fault. Nigerians can do better. Abi na him put himself on top field.”

For Sir Rufus Max, he said, “This is shameful, Sha. What sort of reasoning makes a so-called ‘fan’ resort to ‘hateful comments’ because of some disappointment?

“There are too many people who can’t put their emotions in check.”

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Calling the hate metted out to the Super Eagles star “wrong”, Divine Alfred urged Nigerians to desist from such acts, saying it may deter other stars from wanting to represent the country in the future.

“This is wrong. Nigerians don’t ever know when to stop. Why?

“What if he had chosen another country than Nigeria?

“Dude gave his best just because he ran out of luck, and remember, football is just a game. Very soon, no player would want to play for Nigeria,” Alfred argued.

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Another X user noted that “this is exactly why some young Nigerians are refusing to come and play for Nigeria. It’s not fair, guys. Let’s move on.”

Mavin urged Nigerians, saying, “Let’s stop attacking them, please,” as Forthman Jr. noted, “Nigerians, this is toxic, and it’s unacceptable. We can do better.”

Nigeria lost the Afcon final to host nation Ivory Coast, who came from behind to topple the Super Eagles.

Sebastien Haller was the hero for Ivory Coast once more, as the Elephants rallied from behind to defeat Nigeria and win the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final on home soil.

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The striker, who had also scored the semi-final winner just 13 months after returning from testicular cancer, flicked in Simon Adingra’s cross with the toe of his boot with nine minutes left to cap a second-half comeback and stir frenzied celebrations in Abidjan.

William Troost-Ekong put Nigeria ahead seven minutes before halftime with a powerful header from nine yards out, following a corner.

Franck Kessie equalised for Ivory Coast in the 62nd minute, when he was unmarked at the back post after Adingra’s corner.

After a dramatic run to the final, which featured the departure of Ivory Coast coach Jean-Louis Gasset following two defeats in the group stage, the Ivorians won their third AFCON title with a well-deserved triumph.

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