Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey in line for Fulham return after AFCON ahead of Aston Villa clash

Alex Iwobi and Calvin Bassey in line for Fulham return after AFCON ahead of Aston Villa clash

Fulham say they will offer Alex Iwobi “every support” after he received online abuse following Nigeria’s defeat to Ivory Coast in the Africa Cup of Nations Final.

Iwobi, who is reportedly considering retiring from international duty, has taken a break from social media and removed all of his Instagram posts after many Super Eagles fans criticised his performances at the AFCON.

His uncle, ex-Bolton attacker Jay-Jay Okocha, has offered him a message of support, as have Nigeria captain Ahmed Musa and Nigeria’s minister for sports development John Enoh.

Iwobi and team-mate Calvin Bassey are due to return to Fulham training later this week and could be in contention for Saturday’s home game with Aston Villa.

Fulham said they will offer Iwobi “every support”, and posted a photo of Iwobi and Bassey on social media with the caption “Proud of both our boys.”

Musa also took to social media, saying: “Dear fans, I want to please urge you to halt the cyber-bullying directed towards Alex Iwobi. Cyber bullying is not just a violation of decency but also a serious crime. It’s hypocritical to claim that football unites us while engaging in such behaviour.

“Losing a game is undoubtedly tough, but targeting a single player for the team’s shortcomings is unfair and unjust. We win as a team, and we lose as a team. Alex gave his all on the field, just like every member of our squad.

“Instead of spreading negativity, let’s show genuine love and support to our players. They need our encouragement now more than ever. Let’s uplift each other and stand united, both in victory and defeat.”

Iwobi spoke to sports minister Enoh, who had written a letter to Musa “condemning strongly the cyber-bullying.”

Enoh then told Iwobi: “As a ministry, this is not the first time we are going to make a statement against bullying [of] our sportsmen and -women.

“You did your best for your country and I am proud of you. Those who are not are in the far minority and do not speak for the rest of our country. You did your best.”

Iwobi’s uncle Okocha, capped 73 times by Nigeria from 1993 to 2006, wrote: “I pray for my country Nigeria and the people that can only hate and see nothing good in others, when effort counts for nothing, treat people the way you want them to treat you, all we have is this life is each other.”