Iwobi criticism after AFCON loss sparks debate around cyberbullying in football

Nigerian midfielder Alex Iwobi has come under criticism following his display in midfield during the African Cup of Nations final.

The player responded to online criticism of his performance on Sunday by deleting his social media accounts, sparking debate around cyber bullying and how much criticism should be directed at footballers after a bad showing.

While disappointed with the result, Nigerian fan, Zainab Valentine-Whensu, (22) defended her team saying: “While I do not support cyber bullying I also believe if you want to do something and make your career right you should be good at it, to me I feel Iwobi could have done better and should stop acting like an influencer and at least start acting as a football player he is”.

“To be honest Cote d’Ivoire played a really good game and I feel like Nigeria did well in semifinals but I was disappointed it got to final and they got choked, I feel like the coach Jose Peseiro should have put in the right players, in my opinion there are eleven players on that field but only two of them were active and that is the Goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali and Victor Osimhen”.

Nigerians have criticised the Nigeria National football team super eagles for saving their worst performance for the most crucial match after the squad raised expectations with their run during the Tournament, losing 2-1 to hosts Cote d’Ivoire in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations final.

Another fan, Femi Olayiwola,(24),said: “I was not really shocked about Nigeria lose because Cote d’Ivoire played better than Nigerian team and they deserve to win”

“I do not support the way Alex Iwobi was bullied. Nigerian football fans are fond of criticizing players and I think Iwobi was the scapegoat and I do not think they should only single him out for criticism because it was a team work”.

The 2023 African Cup of Nations hosted by Cote d’Ivoire involves 24 male national teams from Africa. It commenced on the 11th of January 2024 and ended on the 13th of February 2024 in Cote d’Ivoire. The Eagles were defeated 2-1 by Ivory in the final, which took place in Alassane Ouattara Stadium.

Nigeria has advanced to eight finals but has only won three AFCON titles, with victories coming in 1980, 1994, and 2013. Nigeria has emerged third position eight times, although despite having the most podium finishes in the tournament’s history, they have not been able to sustain their success over the years.

Despite the final changes made by Coach Jose Peseiro, the Eagles lose the opportunity to come back into the game, missing the chance to win a fourth AFCON title, just like their failures in 1984, 1988, 1990 and 2000.

Football stadium. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

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