Odion Ighalo does not fear for his life!
There are so many things that soccer players go through outside the pitch that the fans seldom pay little attention to. Some players go through emotional torture because of the abuse that comes from the fans when they are not performing well, and some are forced to fear for their lives. This is the story of a certain Nigerian who is one of the many players that have been threatened by their own fans in the midst of a bad performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Former Watford centre forward, Odion Ighalo was one of the first names on the Nigerian team sheet at the recent FIFA World Cup hosted in the cold land of the Russians. He played in Nigeria’s first match in the tournament against Croatia where his nation fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the eventual finalists. He tried his best in front of goal but to no avail and was eventually demoted to the bench in the following match against Iceland. All his efforts in the tournament have gone down the drain in the memories of the radical fans who feel that his only contribution was to huff and puff goal-scoring opportunities. Ighalo has since received death threats from numerous people on his social media accounts which is unacceptable. The player goes to lengths to score a number of goals for his country only to be paid back by insults when he is out of form.
This is not the first time that a player or coach received death threats because of unfortunate circumstances. Former Chelsea and Italy national team coach, Antonio Conte fell prey to similar attacks from Juventus fans who blamed him for the injury of Claudio Marchisio in August 2014. Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Carlo Tavecchio revealed that Conte received death threats on the internet. Soccer fans are entitled to their opinions and reactions after bad performances but there is a line ought to be drawn in terms of expression.
Death threats have a toll on a player’s mindset whenever they play as they feel unsafe, even in their own country. Ighalo talked to BBC Sport after revealing that not only him but his family too received such threats.
After all, we need to remember that soccer is a sport made possible by these players who represent our clubs and national teams. The players are human beings and have emotions which need to be protected like any other. No one deserves to feel unsafe especially after working their socks off for the love of the game only to be attacked by the very same people they sacrifice a lot for.
Denounce these actions and save the lives and careers of our players. We are with you Ighalo!