Former captain of Nigeria’s national football team, Austin Okocha, popularly known as “Jay-Jay” Okocha shared knowledge of the game garnered over decades with the current generation of Nigerian players as he spoke on the journey to becoming a disciplined and effective player in the world of football.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Saturday, Jay-Jay spoke on his journey to becoming one of the top players in the history of Nigerian football.
Okocha criticized the Nigerian football scene compared to that of Europe stating that that there are more provisions for players to thrive outside the nation.
“The difference is that in Europe you have everything you need to improve as a player and you’re playing under better coaches and a better environment. In Nigeria, we lack facilities and that disturbs one’s opportunity to perform and bring out the best in a young player.
“I was lucky that I left Nigeria early,” Okocha said.
A globally-acclaimed playmaker in his heyday, Okocha xplained that his journey was what made him the highly rated player he became. He believes he would have been worth over 120 million pounds in today’s football market.
“Well, I think if you look at the market now and what PSG paid for me, in 1998 when I was at my peak, I would say that I’m within the region of 120 to 150 million pounds now because if chelsea can pay 106 million pounds for Enzo who is a defensive midfield player, I don’t see why they shouldn’t pay more for an attacking midfielder.”
The legendary former captain of the Bolton Wanderers encouraged Nigerian players who want to stay relevant in the football to prepare themselves and give the best they can.
He especially congratulated thriving Nigerian forward and Napoli superstar, Victor Osimhen, for breaking the record of highest scoring African in Serie A history.
He encouraged the player saying, “He has done extremely well and in my opinion he should maintain that hunger. Stay humble, don’t get carried away and most importantly, maintain that discipline.”
In other news Jay-Jay Okocha also has an upcoming series on the DSTV Showmax platform titled “Jay Jay: The Chosen One”, a series produced in collaboration with the player himself about elements of his childhood and his love for football.
The series elaborates on the life of a young Jay Jay who plays football with his band of friends saving thier community through football and superpowers.
“I just wanted something for the kids for them to know that your superheroes could be your neighbors. “