Augustine Azuka Okocha, also known as Jay Jay Okocha is a former Nigerian footballer. Jay Jay was one of the best Super Eagle players Nigerians put their trust in. Once the ball is with Okocha, Nigerians can go to sleep because he will surely deliver. Okocha mans the mid-field position with excellent skills and confidence. His impact in Bolton earned him the description: Jay Jay – ‘so good that they named him twice’.
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Jay Jay Okocha Background
Jay Jay Okocha was born on the 14th August, 1973 in Enugu State but his parents are from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State. Interestingly, Augustine is from a football loving family. He got the name Jay Jay Okocha from his elder brother, James, a footballer who goes by the name Jay Jay. Thereafter, his immediate elder brother, Emmanuel started playing for Nigeria national team. Emmanuel was equally called Emma-Jay Jay but eventually, the name
stuck to Okocha. Not only that, Okocha’s nephew, Alex Iwobi is also an Arsenal and Nigeria player.
Jay Jay Okocha Football Career
Okocha started his football career as a boy playing around with several others on his street. According to him, they play with any round thing they could find, and whenever they manage to get hold of a ball, that was a bonus.
Subsequently, in 1990, Okocha joined Rangers International Football Club, also known as Enugu Rangers. Of course, Jay Jay Okocha displayed his amazing skills at the club thereby breaking records. One of his many achievements is a match against BBC Lions where he scored William Okpara, a respected Nigerian goalkeeper at the time.
Okocha proceeded to West Germany for a holiday and also to watch the German league football. Meanwhile, his friend, Binebi Numa was playing in the Third Division for Borussia Neunkirchen. So, Okocha accompanied him to his training one particular morning. Fortunately, he was asked to join in and he saw it as an opportunity to display his skills and talent. At the end of
the training, he won the admiration of Neunkirchen coach and was invited to come the next day before he got signed into the club.
Thereafter, he joined 1. FC Saarbrucken where he played for few months with the 2. Bundesliga side before moving to 1. Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Jay Jay departed from 1. FC Saarbrucken to join Eintracht Frankfurt, a German sports club based in Frankfurt in December 1991. While in the club, he networked with keynote players like Tony Yeboah and Thomas Doll. In 1993, Jay Jay scored a goal against Karlrusher SC that was voted Goal of the Season by several football magazines and Goal of the Year by Sportschau viewers. Thereafter, Okocha, Yeboah and Maurizio Gaudino left the club due to an unresolved dispute with manager, Jupp Heynckes in 1995.
After the relegation of Eintracht Frankfurt to the 2. Bundesliga, Jay Jay Okocha joined Fenerbahçe, a Turkish club for almost £1 million. Okocha was with the team for two seasons and was able to score 30 goals in 62 matches. Many of his goals came from direct free kicks and that became his trademark while at the club. He acquired Turkish citizenship as Muhammet Yaviz during his time with Fenerbahçe.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG)
Okocha was signed into Paris Saint-Germain for a whopping sum of £14 million which made him the most expensive African player at the time. He played 84 matches and scored 12 goals in his 4years at PSG. Interestingly,
Okocha served as a mentor to young Ronaldinho during his time in Paris.
Okocha left PSG in 2002 and moved to Bolton Wanderers after the FIFA World Cup. In his first season with Bolton Wanderers, he scored seven goals which took the team away from relegation. His goal against West Ham Limited was voted the Goal of the Season as well as Bolton’s best Premier League goal in 2008. Obviously, Jay Jay Okocha gained the admiration of Bolton citizens to the extent that a shirt was inscribed in his name.
During his second season, Okocha was given the captains armband after the retirement of Guoni Bergsson, who was the former captain. However, in 2006, he was relieved of the captain position.
Jay Jay refused a one year extension in Bolton Wanderers and moved to Qatar where he spent one season. Afterwards, he moved to Football League Championship side Hull City on a free transfer in 2007. Okocha played 18 games for Hull City but scored no goal. Nevertheless, Hull was still able to win promotion to the Premier League, for the first time in their 104 year history. Jay Jay thereafter went into retirement.
Okocha was elected as the Chairman of the Delta State Football Association on 21st February, 2015.
Jay Jay Okocha International Career
Okocha’s first appearance in Nigeria match was the 2-1 1994 FIFA World Cup qualifier loss against Ivory Coast in May 1993. Afterwards, he played for Nigeria against Algeria and scored from a direct free kick. The team won Algeria 4-1 which qualified Nigeria for the first World Cup. In 1994, Okocha was a member of Victorious 1994 African Cup of Nations squad, the 19th edition of the Africa Cup of Nation. Not only that, he was also a member of the 1994 World Cup squad.
In 1998 FIFA World Cup hosted by France, Okocha played for Super Eagles who reached round 16. In the match, Super Eagles won their opponent, Spain with 3-2. He also played with Super Eagles in 2000 African Cup of
Nations co-hosted with Ghana. Okocha scored three goals altogether in the tournament, two against Tunisia. Impressively, Okocha got a standing ovation from almost 60,000 people who watched the match when he left the field.
Jay Jay Okocha played with Super Eagles in a testimonial against an African select side in Warri. He played alongside Daniel Amokachi, Alloysius Agu, John Fashanu, Benjani and Sulley Muntari. Eventually, Nigeria won the game 2-1. Of course, Okocha scored the winning goal during the second half of the match.
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Jay Jay Okocha’s Goals
- 3/7/1993, World Cup qualifier, 1goal against Algeria
- 11/6/1995, US Cup, 1 goal against United States
- 23/1/2000, African Cup of Nations, 2goals against Tunisia
- 13/2/2000, African Cup of Nations, 1goal against Cameroon
- 17/6/2000, World Cup qualifier, 1goal against Sierra Leone
- 1/7/2001, World Cup qualifier, 1goal against Sudan
- 26/3/2002, Friendly match, 1goal against England
- 26/7/2003, Friendly match, 1goal against Venezuela
- 31/1/2004, African Cup of Nations, 1goal against South Africa
- 8/2/2004, African Cup of Nations, 1goal against Cameroon
- 11/2/2004, African Cup of Nations, 1goal against Tunisia
- 13/2/2004, African Cup of Nations, 1goal against Mali
- 18/6/2005, World Cup qualifier, 1goal against Angola
Jay Jay Okocha Honours
- 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
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (Reserve), 1998
- BBC African Footballer of the Year, 2003,2004
- One of the top 125living footballers, Pele, 2004
- BBC Goal of the Month, April 2003
- Premier League Player of the Month, November, 2003
- African Cup of Nations Golden Boot, 2004
- African Cup of Nations Best Player, 2004
- Bolton Wanderers Player of the Year, 2004/2005
Honours For His Club
- Oberliga Sudwest, Borussia Neunkirchen, 1990, 1991
- Saarland Cup, Borussia Neunkirchen, 1990, 1992
- Africa Cup of Nations: 1994; runner up: 2000; third place: 2002, 2004, 2006
- Afro-Asian Cup of Nations, 1995
- Summer Olympic Games, 1996
- Prime Minister’s Cup, Fenerbahce, 1998
- Trophee des Champions, Paris Saint-Germain, 1998
- Ataturk Cup, Fenerbahce, 1999
- UEFA Intertoto Cup, Paris Saint-Germain, 2001
- Football League Cup runner-up, Bolton Wanderers, 2003/2004
- Football League Championship play-offs, Hull City, 2008
Jay Jay Okocha Quotes
“Football is the most powerful tool in the world for inspiring young people to achieve their goals.”
“No matter what, skill will always prevail.”
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Jay Jay Okocha Philanthropy
Okocha carries out his philanthropy through Jay-Jay Okocha Foundation, the foundation he co-founded with his elder brother Emmanuel. Jay-Jay Okocha Foundation helps the less privileged especially those that dropped out of school.
Jay Jay Okocha Net Worth
Okocha was one of the highest paid footballer in Nigeria. As gathered, his net worth as at 2015 was $150m. Shockingly, it reduced to $15m in 2017. Currently, Okocha’s net worth is $15m according to celebritynetworth.com
Business Lessons from Okocha
1. Be Prepared For Opportunities
Jay Jay Okocha put in his best when he was asked to join his friend’s training session. Subsequently, he got signed into the club. You cannot tell when your next big break will be. So, always go out prepared. Success happens when opportunity meets preparation.
2. Be Good At What You Do
Okocha is skillful and he displays that every time he has the opportunity. Actually, when customers perceive excellence in what you do, they will keep coming back and will as well refer other people to you.