Everton forward, Alex Iwobi, has revealed how the fans attacked Super Eagles bus after they were forced to a 4-4 draw with Sierra Leone in the AFCON qualifier in Edo State last November.
The former Arsenal star said in an interview with evertonfc.com that the entire Nigeria team were almost physically hurt when their bus was attacked with stones.
Iwobi has played more than 40 games for Nigeria and grown familiar with the country’s feverish football public.
He expected a reaction, then, when his team coughed up a 4-0 lead – Iwobi scoring twice – to draw 4-4 with Sierra Leone in an AFCON qualifying match in Benin City.
Nigeria are all but assured of their place in the 2022 finals but that didn’t spare them the wrath of the natives.
“I can’t even tell you what happened in the game, I don’t know, it was mad,” says Iwobi.
“There was a lot of heated discussion in the changing room.
“The Nigerian Football President, Amaju Pinnick, came in and said a few words.
“He was hurt, like all of us.
“Trying to go back to the hotel, people were throwing stones at our bus.
“One cracked a window and hit a player. It was crazy.
“They are proper passionate.
“I see where they were coming from, the result was hurtful.
“But we were almost physically hurt because of it!”
Iwobi confesses Nigeria’s international footballers are – for the most part – treated like kings in their homeland.
He accepts the other side of that deal, then – and is grateful to represent people who care so deeply.
There is one caveat, though, and he’s laughing as he says it.
“Of course I like the passion and we want the fans to show it,” begins Iwobi.
“Just don’t hurt us, please!
“Only Lord knows how they’d react if we could win a tournament.
“It is what everyone dreams of and, hopefully, we can make it a reality.”