AFCON: Sports minister backs Iwobi amid cyber-bullying

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Minister of Sports Development, Senator John Enoh, has urged Super Eagles midfielder, Alex Iwobi to keep his head up after facing heavy criticism from fans in the wake of Nigeria’s loss to Ivory Coast in the final of the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday.

Nigeria lost 2-1 to the hosts, handing the Ivorians their third AFCON title while the Super Eagles’ unwanted record of losses in the final became five.

As a result, Iwobi was singled out for criticism by Nigerian fans, forcing him to leave social media, and there were suggestions that he was considering leaving the national team.

Iwobi has received support from captain Ahmed Musa as well as his other teammates, and Enoh also patted him on the back after the team arrived in Abuja, the country’s capital in the early hours of Tuesday.

“I am aware of what is happening on social media and as a ministry, this isn’t the first time we are going to make a statement against bullying, not just you but our sportsmen and women in general who are exposed to bullying due to the outcome of competitions. We are concerned about how our sportsmen and women are treated.

“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. Those who are not are in the far minority and do not speak for the rest of our country, so just be strong,” Enoh said on Tuesday.

Iwobi debuted for the Super Eagles in October 2015 and has made 63 appearances, scoring 10 times in the process.