Following criticisms from fans after their underwhelming performances during the 2026 World Cup qualifiers against Lesotho and Zimbabwe, Naija Ratels captain, Onome Ebi, has jumped to the defence of the Super Eagles, The PUNCH reports.
Despite being tagged as the favourites, the three-time African champions in the first game against the Crocodiles came from behind to steal a point at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo last Thursday.
It was the same narrative in their second game against Zimbabwe at the Huye Stadium in Rwanda.
The draw means the Eagles have just two points from a possible six points and are third in their Group C, two points behind Rwanda, who surprisingly defeated South Africa on Tuesday.
The team’s poor performance has caused uproar among fans who are already calling for the sacking of the Portuguese tactician.
Eagles’ captain, Ahmed Musa, while delivering a speech in Lagos last Friday during a ceremony to unveil the team’s ‘Let’s Do It Again’ mantra in their bid to win a fourth AFCON title at next year’s edition in Ivory Coast said most fans don’t support Eagles because they like the team but because of their betting which is at stake.
In light of that, Ebi has also come to defence of the Eagles saying the insults haul at players is gradually killing the game.
“They are gradually killing the beautiful game in my country with so much negativity,” Ebi wrote on Instagram.
“Football is supposed to be enjoyed, and players giving all to make the country proud are supposed to be encouraged and supported.
“It’s really sad to know that we have the best players in the world, but it is difficult to win games convincingly these days. It is really sad.
“We need that full support and enough of all this calling out players, insulting, and discouraging them after a bad game. Players go through a lot after all this, please lovers of football we can do better to help each other.
“Truly, some people don’t understand how it feels to lose a game or play below expectations. Some players never recover from it. Some experienced players are strong enough to encourage the rest. Some go off playing for some time to recover. Football is not just about playing on the field,”
“It’s beyond. You wonder why players always ask the fans for their support and why it is because it goes a long way to motivate and encourage the players. Please let’s change our ways toward football players. It’s destroying the beauty of the game.”
The 40-year-old veteran in July became the first African to play in five World Cups after featuring in the Super Falcons second group game against Australia.