Jay-Jay Okocha

Nigeria National football player

Augustine Azuka Okocha (/əˈkɒə/ ə-KOTCH; born 14 August 1973), commonly known as Jay-Jay Okocha, is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He played 73 times for the Nigeria national team between 1993 and 2006, scoring 14 times, and was a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. He is considered as one of the greatest football players from Africa.[2] Okocha is gifted with remarkable technique and speed, he is regarded as one of the best dribblers in history. In addition, he was also an expert in long-range shots and set pieces.

Jay-Jay Okocha
Match legends 2017 CC (5).jpg
Okocha playing in a 2017 charity match
Personal information
Full name Augustine Azuka Okocha[1]
Date of birth (1973-08-14) 14 August 1973 (age 49)[1]
Place of birth Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)[1]
Position(s) Attacking midfielder
Youth career
1986–1990 Enugu Rangers
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1990–1992 Borussia Neunkirchen 35 (7)
1992–1996 Eintracht Frankfurt 90 (18)
1996–1998 Fenerbahçe 62 (30)
1998–2002 Paris Saint-Germain 84 (12)
2002–2006 Bolton Wanderers 124 (14)
2006–2007 Qatar SC 41 (6)
2007–2008 Hull City 18 (0)
Total 454 (89)
National team
1993–2006 Nigeria 73 (14)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only


Club careerEdit

In 1990 Okocha moved as a youth player from the Nigerian club Enugu Rangers to then third division club Borussia Neunkirchen. There he made his debut as a 17-year-old in the Oberliga team . Already in his first season in Neunkirchen he caused a sensation with his dribbles and goals, sometimes from more than 30 meters goal distance in the Oberliga Südwest. This did not go unnoticed by the then coach of league rivals Eintracht Trier, Dragoslav Stepanović, who steered him to Frankfurt in 1992, where he first played as a contract amateur for Eintracht Frankfurt and on September 26, 1992 against Werder Bremen for the first time in the. Bundesliga accrued. He became known for sensational dribbles and made the headlines. His goal to make it 3-1 against Karlsruher SC in the Bundesliga game on August 31, 1993 was spectacular: he played around the opposing defenders in the penalty area and made goalkeeper Oliver Kahn run back and forth several times with body tricks and sudden changes of direction before he finally got the ball shot in goal. The viewers of the sports show voted this goal goal of the year 1993.

At the beginning of December 1994, the Nigerian international made headlines when he showed his solidarity with his teammates Anthony Yeboah and Maurizio Gaudino and refused special training ordered by coach Jupp Heynckes and participation in the subsequent Bundesliga game, which resulted in the dismissal of Yeboah and Gaudino. After Eintracht was relegated to the 2nd Bundesliga, Okocha played for the Turkish first division club Fenerbahçe Istanbul from 1996 to 1998, during which time he accepted Turkish citizenship before moving to Paris Saint-Germain in 1998 for 22 million marks.

Jay-Jay Okocha made 90 appearances (18 goals) in the 1st Bundesliga for Eintracht Frankfurt from 1992 to 1996. In the Premier League he completed 124 games ( 14 goals) for Bolton Wanderers from 2002 and was voted BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2003 and 2004. At the end of the 2005/06 season, however, his contract was not extended by the "Trotters", although he was still one of the regulars. After a year in Qatar, the Nigerian finally signed a one-year contract with English second division side Hull City for the 2007/08 season. With the new club, he was promoted to the Premier League.

International careerEdit

Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria in their 2–1 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier away loss against Ivory Coast in May 1993. It was not until his second cap and home debut that he became a favourite with the Nigerian supporters. With Nigeria trailing 1–0 against Algeria, in a match they needed to win, he scored from a direct free kick to equalise, before helping the team to a 4–1 win, eventually securing qualification to their first World Cup. In 1994, he was a member of both the victorious 1994 African Cup of Nations squad [3][4] and the World Cup squad who made it to the second round before they lost in a dramatic match against eventual runners-up Italy.

In 1996, Okocha became a key member of an arguably more successful Nigerian side, their Olympic gold winning side at the Atlanta Games, later nicknamed the Dream Team by the Nigerian press after the USA 1992 Olympic gold winning basketball team. In the 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by France, Okocha played for a disappointing Super Eagles side who failed to live up to expectations again reaching the round of 16, albeit with less impressive performances save for their 3–2 opening win against Spain. This did not destroy interest in Okocha, who had entertained fans with his trademark skills and dribbles and went on to be named in the squad of the tournament.[5][6]

Okocha again joined the Super Eagles in the 2000 African Cup of Nations co-hosted with Ghana. He scored three goals in the tournament, two in the opening game against Tunisia, and then given a standing ovation by the nearly 60,000 attendance when he left the field.[6]

He made a return to the Super Eagles in his testimonial against an African select side in Warri. The game featured former players Daniel Amokachi, Alloysius Agu, John Fashanu, Benjani and Sulley Muntari. Nigeria won the game 2–1 with Okocha scoring the winning goal after appearing for the side in the second half.[7] In March 2004, he was named one of the top 125 living footballers by Pelé.[8]

Career statisticsEdit

ClubEdit

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National Cup League Cup Continental Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Eintracht Frankfurt 1992–93[9] Bundesliga 20 2 3 1 3[a] 0 26 3
1993–94[9] Bundesliga 19 2 2 0 4[a] 2 25 4
1994–95[9] Bundesliga 27 7 2 0 7[a] 0 36 7
1995–96[9] Bundesliga 24 7 1 1 4[b] 3 29 11
Total 90 18 8 2 18 5 116 25
Fenerbahçe 1996–97[9] 1.Lig 33 16 3 1 1[c] 0 8[d] 1 45 18
1997–98[9] 1.Lig 29 14 0 0 2[a] 0 31 14
Total 62 30 3 1 1 0 10 1 76 32
Paris Saint-Germain 1998–99[9] French Division 1 25 4 0 0 2 0 2[e] 1 29 5
1999–2000[9] French Division 1 23 2 1 0 3 0 26 2
2000–01[9] French Division 1 16 2 1 0 1 0 6[d] 1 24 3
2001–02[9] French Division 1 20 4 2 0 2 1 9[f] 5 33 10
Total 84 12 4 0 8 1 17 7 112 20
Bolton Wanderers 2002–03[10] Premier League 31 7 0 0 0 0 31 7
2003–04[10] Premier League 35 0 0 0 6 3 41 3
2004–05[10] Premier League 31 6 1 0 1 1 33 7
2005–06[10] Premier League 27 1 3 0 0 0 7[a] 0 37 1
Total 124 14 4 0 7 4 7 0 142 18
Hull City 2007–08[9] Championship 18 0 0 0 1 0 19 0
Career total 378 74 19 3 17 5 52 13 465 95
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Appearances in UEFA Cup
  2. Appearances in UEFA Intertoto Cup
  3. Appearance in Turkish Super Cup
  4. 4.0 4.1 Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  5. Appearances in UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
  6. Six appearances and five goals in UEFA Intertoto Cup, three appearances in UEFA Cup

InternationalEdit

Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Nigeria[11] 1993 3 1
1994 11 0
1995 5 1
1996 1 0
1997 5 0
1998 5 0
1999 1 0
2000 7 4
2001 8 1
2002 12 1
2003 3 1
2004 8 4
2005 2 1
2006 2 0
Total 73 14
Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Okocha goal.[12]
List of international goals scored by Jay-Jay Okocha
No. Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 3 July 1993 Lagos, Nigeria   Algeria 1–1 4–1 1994 World Cup qualifier
2 11 June 1995 Boston, United States   United States 1–0 2–3 1995 US Cup
3 23 January 2000 Lagos, Nigeria   Tunisia 1–0 4–2 2000 African Cup of Nations
4 2–1
5 13 February 2000 Lagos, Nigeria   Cameroon 2–2 2–2 2000 African Cup of Nations
6 17 June 2000 Lagos, Nigeria   Sierra Leone 1–0 2–0 2002 World Cup qualifier
7 1 July 2001 Omdurman, Sudan   Sudan 3–0 4–0 2002 World Cup qualifier
8 26 March 2002 London, England   Paraguay 1–1 1–1 Friendly
9 26 July 2003 Watford, England   Venezuela 1–0 1–0 Friendly
10 31 January 2004 Monastir, Tunisia   South Africa 2–0 4–0 2004 African Cup of Nations
11 8 February 2004 Monastir, Tunisia   Cameroon 1–1 2–1 2004 African Cup of Nations
12 11 February 2004 Tunis, Tunisia   Tunisia 1–0 1–1 2004 African Cup of Nations
13 13 February 2004 Monastir, Tunisia   Mali 1–0 2–1 2004 African Cup of Nations
14 18 June 2005 Kano, Nigeria   Angola 1–0 1–1 2006 World Cup qualifier

HonoursEdit

Borussia Neunkirchen

Fenerbahçe

Paris Saint-Germain

Bolton Wanderers

Hull City

Nigeria U23

Nigeria

Individual

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream Publishing. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-84596-324-8.
  2. "Okocha - How Football world celebrated Bolton and Nigeria legend at 47". goal.com. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
  3. 1994 Africa Cup of Nations squads#Nigeria
  4. 1994 Africa Cup of Nations#Caf Team of Tournament
  5. Orr, Tamra (2006). Jay-Jay Okocha. MITCHELL LANE. ISBN 1-58415-493-4. OCLC 690752547.
  6. 6.0 6.1 De Michele, Carmen (8 December 2011), "Okocha, Augustine Azuka", African American Studies Center, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/acref/9780195301731.013.49698, ISBN 978-0-19-530173-1
  7. "Okocha, Mikel, Yak, Kanu or Yobo - Who is the best Super Eagles skipper? - Futbal Galore". 26 July 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  8. "Pele's 125 Greatest Footballers Included Some Seriously Bizarre Choices". www.sportbible.com. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 "Jay-Jay Okocha Stats". FBREF. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 "Jay Jay Okocha". Premier League. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  11. Passo Alpuin, Luis Fernando (13 January 2022). "Augustine Okocha - International Appearances". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  12. "Augustine Okocha – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
  13. "August 1993 - Okocha" (in German). Sportschau. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
  14. "FIFA Technical Study Group designates MasterCard All-Star Team". FIFA.com. 10 July 1998. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  15. "Jay Jay Okocha: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  16. "Okocha named best player of tournament". IOL. 14 February 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  17. "IFFHS". IFFHS. 29 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.

Other websitesEdit

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Sunday Oliseh
Nigeria captain
2002–2006
Succeeded by
Nwankwo Kanu