The family of Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan have been issued with police protection following death threats from angry Black Stars fans.
It's really unfair for the fans to go against Asamoah, (he) is one of the best players in the team
The 22-year-old was booed during Ghana's Group A match against Namibia after missing several chances and then threatened to quit the team in protest.
But Ghana's star player Michael Essien says the criticism has been unfair.
"I don't think it's good to insult him because he's a young lad coming up and he's been doing really well," he said.
"I plead with the fans not to insult us because we've got families too," added Essien who scored in Ghana's deciding group match against Morocco.
"All we are doing is to do our best for the country so they should forget about the past and stay behind us, keep praying and supporting us and hopefully we can actually win something for the nation."
Gyan's mother, Cecilia Love Amoako, issued a plea to his detractors, telling them to lay off her son, whose elder brother Baffour is also in Claude LeRoy's squad.
"Ghanaians are ungrateful. My son is only young but has done something good for the nation, so he should not be treated this way," she said.
Asamoah Gyan plays for Italy-based Udinese
Even though Gyan improved his performance in Monday's 2-0 win over Morocco he was unlucky not to score two goals as he found goalkeeper Nadir Lamyaghri in good form.
Despite the early difficulties, Essien is confident the Udinese striker will bounce back to help Ghana in the knock-out phase of the tournament.
"I think he is been doing really well - he's a great player and the fans have to be behind us now," the Chelsea player said.
Ghana finished top of Group A with nine points after Monday's win over Morocco and now face arch-rivals Nigeria in the quarter-finals on 3 February.