Jay- Jay Okocha is a Nigerian football legend. Okocha is a crafty attacking midfielder with lot of tricks. Okocha was a member of gold medal winning Nigerian football team in 1996 Atlanta Olympics. FIFA named him in the lift of best living footballers in 2004.Okocha is a master in taking free kicks. In Ogwasi-Uku, there is a football stadium named “Jay Jay Okocha Stadium.”
Agustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha was born on 14th August 1973 at Enugu in Nigeria. Okocha started his football journey with the youth team of Enugu Rangers. He played impressively for Enugu. Luck came in his way, when he went to Germany to meet his friend, but ended up joining Borussia Neunkirchen, after impressing in trials in 1990.Neunkirchen was then in the third tier of German football. He played 35 matches for Nuenkirchen and scored seven goals. In 1992, Okocha signed up for German Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. He was impressive for Frankfurt. He scored a stunning goal against Karlsruhe after dribbling inside the penalty box and beating Oliver Kahn. Some football magazines in Germany voted it as goal of the season. Following a tussle with Frankfurt manager Jupp Heynckes, Okocha left Frankfurt in 1996.Frankfurt went down to second tier following a relegation. Okocha scored 16 goals for Frankfurt in 90 matches.
Okocha moved to Turkey to resurrect his career. He signed up for Fenerbahce. Okocha became prolific in scoring goals while playing for Fenerbahce. He scored 30 goals for them in sixty matches. In 1997/1998 season, he helped Fenerbahce to stun Manchester United at their home Old Trafford, in a UEFA Champions League match. He got Turkish citizen ship during his stint with Fenerbahce.
French Ligue 1 club Paris Saint Germain bought Okocha for $ 24 million, which was a record price for an African player. During his 4-year stint with PSG, he played 84 matches and scored 12 goals. Okocha moved to England and signed up for Bolton Wanderers. He became a cult hero among Bolton faithful. He along with Djorkaeff produced some stunning performances to steer Bolton to safety in premier league, from relegation Zone. He scored seven vital goals during that season. He became captain of Bolton following his heroics in 1993. Okocha led Bolton to League cup final. Okocha played 124 league matches for Bolton and scored 13 goals.
He moved to Qatar and joined Qatar SC in 2006.He scored six goals for them in 41 matches. He moved back to England and joined Championship side Hull city, in 2007.Hull city achieved promotion to premier league after winning play-off. However, Okocha played only 18 matches for them during that campaign.
Okocha played his first International match for Nigeria against Ivory Coast. He helped Nigeria to qualify for 1994 world cup. He won African cup of nations with Nigeria in 1994.Nigeria exited from 1994 world cup at knockout stage. In 1998 world cup also they exited the tournament in round of 16.However, his performances yielded him place in Team of the tournament. Okocha played in 2000 and 2002 African cup of nations in which Nigeria finished second and third respectively. He became Captain of Nigeria in 2002.He scored 1000th goal of African cup of nations. He scored four goals during 2004 African cup of nations. He retired from International football after the third place match in African Cup of nations in 2006, which Nigeria won. Okocha played 75 matches for Nigeria and scored 14 goals. He is one of the top football team players to emerge from Africa.