Jay-Jay Okocha, so good they named him twice!
Jay-Jay Okocha was born in Enugu, Nigeria on the 14th August 1973.
His interest in football started on the streets where he would play football with anything roughly resembling a ball. In an interview with the BBC Okocha said: “As far as I can remember, we used to play with anything, with any round thing we could find, and whenever we managed to get hold of a ball, that was a bonus! I mean it was amazing!”
He started his career with Enugu Rangers where he developed his trade for almost a year.
In 1990 Okocha went on holiday to West Germany to see a friend and watch a German League game. His friend played for Borussia Neunkirchen at the time and invited Okocha along to training. Within 24hrs the head coach had offered him a contract, stating his still and flair were eye catching.
He then moved to Frankfurt on a free transfer and stayed there for 2 years before making a £3.15m transfer to Turkey and Fernebahce. Again he stayed there for 2 years and played 76 games in all competitions scoring 32 and assisting 19.
At 25 years old he had now caught the attention of PSG who got his signature for just over £11m. This time his tenure lasted a little longer than his past clubs as he saw out 4 years in France. During this time he was able to pick up a French Super Cup Winners Medal.
His contract then expired and he made the move to England and Bolton Wanderers. He was never a ‘prolific’ goal scorer but he brought flair and skill that had never been seen quite like his in the English game.
He stayed at the Reebok Stadium for 4 years again and played his most appearances for the Wanderers (144).
His contract then expired and he moved to Qatar SC before heading back to England and Hull City to finish out his career.
Many people would have seen him apply his trade for the national team, Nigeria. He participated in 4x Africa Cups, 3x World Cups & 1x Olympic Games. The later is arguably the most successful Nigerian team of all time as they shocked the world during the 1996 Olympics as they won Gold. Their route to the Gold medal saw them beat the likes of Mexico, Brazil & Argentina.
In total he played 492 games for his various clubs where he scored 101 goals and assisted 52 from his RM/CAM position. Although he wasn’t the most prolific player and didn’t win as many trophies as other players he certainly brought some eye catching displays to the world. He arguably inspired a generation of players to express their skills and flair in a match.
Jay-Jay Okocha. So good he was named twice.