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|Full name||Augustine Azuka Okocha|
|Date of birth||14 August 1973|
|Place of birth||Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria|
|Height||1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Augustine Azuka Okocha (// ə-KOTCH-ə; 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. 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.
Club career[change | change source]
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 career[change | change source]
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  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.
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.
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. In March 2004, he was named one of the top 125 living footballers by Pelé.
Career statistics[change | change source]
Club[change | change source]
|Club||Season||League||National Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|Paris Saint-Germain||1998–99||French Division 1||25||4||0||0||2||0||2[e]||1||29||5|
|1999–2000||French Division 1||23||2||1||0||3||0||–||26||2|
|2000–01||French Division 1||16||2||1||0||1||0||6[d]||1||24||3|
|2001–02||French Division 1||20||4||2||0||2||1||9[f]||5||33||10|
|Bolton Wanderers||2002–03||Premier League||31||7||0||0||0||0||–||31||7|
International[change | change source]
- Scores and results list Nigeria's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Okocha goal.
|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|
|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|
Honours[change | change source]
- Africa Cup of Nations: 1994; runner up: 2000; third place: 2002, 2004, 2006
- Afro-Asian Cup of Nations: 1995
- Goal of the Year (Germany): 1993
- Nigerian Footballer of the Year: 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005; runner-up: 1996
- African Footballer of the Year runner-up: 1998; third place: 2003, 2004
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (Reserve): 1998
- BBC African Footballer of the Year: 2003, 2004
- BBC Goal of the Month: April 2003
- Premier League Player of the Month: November 2003
- Africa Cup of Nations Top Scorer: 2004
- Africa Cup of Nations Best Player: 2004
- Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year: 2004–05
- IFFHS All-time Africa Men's Dream Team: 2021
References[change | change source]
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2008). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2008–09. Mainstream Publishing. p. 319. ISBN 978-1-84596-324-8.
- "Okocha - How Football world celebrated Bolton and Nigeria legend at 47". goal.com. Retrieved 28 January 2022.
- 1994 Africa Cup of Nations squads#Nigeria
- 1994 Africa Cup of Nations#Caf Team of Tournament
- Orr, Tamra (2006). Jay-Jay Okocha. MITCHELL LANE. ISBN 1-58415-493-4. OCLC 690752547.
- 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
- "Okocha, Mikel, Yak, Kanu or Yobo - Who is the best Super Eagles skipper? - Futbal Galore". 26 July 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Pele's 125 Greatest Footballers Included Some Seriously Bizarre Choices". www.sportbible.com. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
- "Jay-Jay Okocha Stats". FBREF. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
- "Jay Jay Okocha". Premier League. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
- Passo Alpuin, Luis Fernando (13 January 2022). "Augustine Okocha - International Appearances". RSSSF.com. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
- "Augustine Okocha – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 March 2021.
- "August 1993 - Okocha" (in German). Sportschau. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2018.
- "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.
- "Jay Jay Okocha: Overview". Premier League. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- "Okocha named best player of tournament". IOL. 14 February 2004. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
- "IFFHS". IFFHS. 29 May 2021. Retrieved 31 May 2021.
Other websites[change | change source]
- Jay-Jay Okocha at Soccerbase
- Jay-Jay Okocha non official website
- Jay-Jay Okocha at fussballdaten.de (in German)
| Nigeria captain