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The details behind Alex Iwobi's COVID-19 test drama

 Alex Iwobi (Instagram/Alex Iwobi)


The whole Super Eagles contingent was stunned when Alex Iwobi's COVID-19 test came out positive.

From the whole group that made the journey from Nigeria to Porto-Novo for Super Eagles' Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against The Republic of Benin, only Iwobi's test came out negative.

It was a shocking development to everyone in the Super Eagles camp and immediately, there was a sense that something wasn't right.

Super Eagles sources told Pulse that they didn't trust the results for either of two reasons; the Benineses are suspected to have done the test in taste hence the error or that they purposely tempered with the result to frustrate the Super Eagles.

The latter is a strong accusation that nobody could confirm, but there were whispers among the Nigerian contingent to the Benin Republic.

But then there was this question; "How would they choose to target Alex Iwobi if the purpose was to frustrate the Super Eagles?"

Frustrated with the positive results, Iwobi and his family were worried that he might be forced to be quarantined in the Benin Republic.

According to President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Amaju Pinnick, there were fears that could happen before he swung into action.

"The fear of Iwobi being quarantined was real & worrying so I took the responsibility of consulting with every relevant authority to get him to travel out of Benin by boat about 7:30pm, to forestall him getting isolated there," Pinnick revealed in a statement on Twitter on Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

The Everton star was rushed back to Nigeria, where he quickly went into self-isolation while his teammates sent him encouraging messages both privately and via social media.

Iwobi self-isolated at his room at the Eko Hotels and Suites but was present when Pinnick and the Nigerian Breweries, sponsors of the Super Eagles, hosted the team Ilashe beach resort.

However, he wasn't with the team and didn't mix with anybody and left in a separate boat after the event.

He stayed back in his room afterwards and didn't attend a dinner organised to celebrate Pinnick's election into the FIFA Council that evening.

Another new COVID-19 test was conducted for the Super Eagles by Clina Lancet Laboratories in Victoria Island in the morning of Monday, March 29. The results later confirmed that Iwobi was indeed negative.

The NFF sent the results to the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) who were satisfied to clear Iwobi for Nigeria's final AFCON qualifier against Lesotho.

"CAF has cleared Alex Iwobi to play today's game against Lesotho," the Super Eagles confirmed via their Twitter account on Tuesday morning.

"The Super Eagles player had earlier tested positive following the COVID-19 tests conducted on the Super Eagles squad on arrival in Porto Novo, Benin Republic.

"However, Alex Iwobi's further COVID-19 tests have returned negative. With this, Alex Iwobi is up selection today."

Iwobi was delighted with the news; "I had to respect the CAF and FIFA protocols by isolating in my room, it wasn't easy knowing you had no symptoms," he said in a video message on social media.

"You don't know nowadays and the main thing is that I'm healthy and I'm ready to go to the last game."

He then thanked the NFF president Pinnick who treated him like a son and made sure he isolated comfortably.


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