Last Updated on September 8, 2018 by mybiohub
Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha is a Nigerian former professional footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. Born on August 14, 1973 in Enugu State but his parents were from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria. A skillful player and often regarded as the best Nigerian player of his generation and one of the greatest Africa has produced.
He began playing football on the streets just like many other football stars. In 1990, he joined Enugu Rangers and later that year, he went on holiday to West Germany, and there he joined Third Division for Borussia Neunkirchen where he was offered a contract. A year later, he joined 1. FC Saarbrücken, but stayed only a few months with the 2. Bundesliga side before a move to the 1. Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt. He also played for other international clubs like Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahçe, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers and Hull City where he won notable titles.
Okocha made his official debut for Nigeria in 1994 FIFA World Cup Qualifier against Ivory Coast in May 1993. 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. He also played in the 1996 Olympic winning a gold medal at the Atlanta games as well as the 1998 world cup in France. He again joined the Super Eagles in the 2000 African Cup of Nations co-hosted with Ghana.
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In March 2004, he was named one of the top 125 living footballers by Pelé. He also won the BBC African Footballer of the Year and the successive one, becoming the only player to retain the award and win it more than once. In 2007, he was voted number 12 on the greatest African footballers of the past 50 years list, on a poll conducted by CAF to coincide with their 50th anniversary.
His older brother Emmanuel was also a former international for the Nigerian team and his nephew, Alex Iwobi is currently an international footballer. Okocha got married to Nkechi Okocha in 1997 and they are blessed with two children; Daniella Okocha and A-Jay Okocha.