Everything You Need to Know about Alex Iwobi's Cyberbullying and Retirement Saga

Alex Iwobi (Photo Credit: IMAGO)

Everything You Need to Know about Alex Iwobi's Cyberbullying and Retirement Saga

Ayoola Kelechi 09:05 - 14.02.2024

Nigerian midfielder Alex Iwobi has been one of the biggest victims of the Super Eagles' defeat in the 2023 AFCON final against Ivory Coast, suffering widespread abuse which led him to consider taking a step back from the national team

In the aftermath of Nigeria's defeat to Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 final, Fulham midfielder Alex Iwobi faced severe online backlash for his performances during the competition. Nigerian fans took to social media to criticise Iwobi, particularly for a lacklustre performance in the final that allowed Ivory Coast to defeat the Super Eagles to be crowned champions. 

While Iwobi was impressive in the first few games of the tournament, his performances took a dip towards the business end of the 2023 AFCON, as the Fulham midfielder likely ran out of steam, being one of the Nigerian players who featured in every game at the tournament. 

 Iwobi Forced to Delete Social Media Posts and Consider Retirement

The online criticism escalated into cyberbullying, prompting Iwobi to delete all posts on his Instagram account. The vitriol affected the player emotionally, leading to his decision to distance himself from social media. 

The Minister of Sports Development, Owan Enoh, offered support to Iwobi, acknowledging the detrimental impact of cyberbullying on the midfielder's mental well-being.

 Nigerian Players Drum Up Support for Iwobi

In the face of cyberbullying, the Super Eagles team rallied around Iwobi, condemning the toxic culture of online abuse. 

Ahmed Musa and Victor Osimhen publicly urged fans to cease cyberbullying, emphasizing the unity of the team. Super Falcons star Asisat Oshoala also took a stand against cyberbullying, specifically calling out social media influencer Tunde Ednut for disparaging comments directed at Iwobi.

 Alex Iwobi’s Retirement: An Unlikely Scenario

Despite the widespread speculation about Iwobi considering retirement due to the online abuse, reports suggest otherwise. An individual close to Iwobi asserted that he remains committed to playing for the national team, undeterred by the opinions of online trolls. 

The Super Eagles team, along with the sports minister, expressed unwavering support for Iwobi, highlighting the resilience and mental strength required to navigate the challenges of professional football.