'I hope you die' - Omeruo reveals threatening message a fan sent to Aina after poor display in AFCON final

Published: February 18, 2024
'I hope you die' - Omeruo reveals threatening message a fan sent to Aina after poor display in AFCON final

Veteran Nigerian central defender Kenneth Omeruo has shed light on the extent of online abuse Super Eagles players are subjected to when they lose matches and not performing up to expectations.


Omeruo revealed that his former Chelsea teammate Ola Aina received a threatening message from a fan, who wished the wing-back death after he came out second-best in a one-on-one duel against Brighton & Hove's Ivory Coast winger Simon Adingra in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations showpiece. 


Calling a spade a spade, Aina was arguably the Super Eagles standout player en route to the final of the AFCON but switched off when it mattered most exactly a week ago, which didn't go down well with a lot of Super Eagles fans. 


Omeruo has argued that the cyberbullying from fans could affect the confidence of Super Eagles players and in a worst case scenario, they could quit the national team. 


In 2010 at the World Cup in South Africa, Sani Kaita and Yakubu Aiyegbeni were the victims of cyberbullying and four years later in Brazil, ex-Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo was not spared.

At the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, goalkeeper Maduka Okoye and Umar Sadiq were targeted by Super Eagles fans in the wake of Nigeria's defeat to Tunisia in the round of 16.

Okoye's situation was so bad that he has refused to honor several invitations to the national team and has not figured for the Super Eagles in the last two years. 


In a lengthy interview with Arise News, Omeruo said: "There are a lot of people who are angry for nothing's sake and they will come at you. Before this tournament we've been getting criticisms.

"For example, someone wrote to Ola Aina on Instagram, 'I hope you die'. They just write whatever, they don't care about the consequences and most times I have stopped myself from replying a lot of messages.

"If I reply like this one blog will pick it and they'll make a big deal out of it but we just have to grow thick skin and hopefully keep winning because when we win they forget about every other thing."


Omeruo added: "I was speaking to Ola and he made some comments that I won't say here but if we lose a player like him just because of some bullying from some fans that are not even important, then it's going to affect us.

"Imagine Ola Aina, for me, was one of the best players in the tournament and was named to the Team of the Tournament as well.

"For having one bad game and you kill him, you go to his Instagram DM and insult him, it's really wrong and it kills the confidence of the players so what if they decide it's not worth it, I'm not coming.

"It's nothing, they are playing for their clubs, they earn money at their clubs, and we should really, really address it."


Former England U19 captain Ola Aina made his Nigeria debut in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match against Zambia, and has gone on to make a further 39 appearances for the Super Eagles. 



Ifeanyi Emmanuel 



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