Former Super Eagles captain and mercurial midfielder, Augustine Jay Jay Okocha has spoken about his football career and how what he learnt on the street helped him to become a successful midfielder.
Okocha was a guest on the ‘No Holds Barred’ Friday edition of popular sports radio, Brilla FM monitored by SporTainment which was co-hosted by his former colleague, Ifeanyi Udeze and Anthony Bekederemo.
Answering questions from the host, the legendary footballer who had played in great clubs like Eintracht Frankfurt, FC Fenerbache, Paris Saint Germaine and Bolton Wanderers, Okocha noted that his early days and humble beginning in football has been captured by the animation series, titled Jay Jay The Chosen One which is on Showmax, a streaming platform of Multichoice.
“I thank God for his grace. I still look fit because I have been training. ‘Jay Jay the Chosen One’, is my animation story. It is about my humble beginning as a 12 year old boy who loved football and played on the streets. It shows the days when I was younger, plucking mangoes on the trees and as a young boy who had dreams. You can watch it for a token price on Showmax.
Okocha who also spoke on how he was able to hone his skills noted that indeed it was a gift from God as creative midfielders are scarce and not many in annals of football. He noted that fans and people should not compare footballers as football is artistry and every player tries his best within the given situation.
“We should learn to appreciate our own as creative midfielders come once in a while. We are not everywhere, we appear in national team once in a while, from Henry Nwosu, Etim Esin, Friday Ekpo and myself. We are not too many in football.
“Sometimes I laugh when I make mistakes because I know in my mind that these people have not seen anything. When my team is leading like 3-0, that is the time I entertain with my skills. But sometimes I make mistakes and I try to correct myself and do better next time. Na my mistake dey show pass and that’s what makes me laugh,” he said.
The talented footballer who credits the late Pele (Edson Arantes Do Nascimento) as his hero in football, reminisced on how he helped Ronaldinho to settle down while in Paris Saint Germaine in the french league. Okocha said, “Ronaldinho was a young lad and he was talented. He struggled initially when he came to PSG and I called him and told him to relax and we played together, I gave him the confidence that he could showcase his skills. I think that is why he credits me as a big brother that supported him. We all need help at one point or the other. When you acknowledged say na God give you the gift, you will be humble.
“I will say Pele was my hero, from the start. I came from a footballing family – my two brothers were footballers, Emma (Okocha) played in the nation’s cup in 1990, and they were the people I looked up to.”
Ace sport broadcaster and
founder of Brilla FM, Larry Izamoje who gave a gift to Okocha commended him for making a success of his career and not recording any scandal, despite the immense talent. he showcased. Izamoje lauded Multichoice for giving Africans and Nigerians something the younger generation and the public will remember about Jay Jay Okocha with this cartoon on Showmax.