5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 44th Birthday

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 44th Birthday

As former captain of Nigeria's Super Eagles, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, turns 44 today, Naij.com takes a look at five vital things Nigerians probably did not know about the former football star.

Okocha, who is known for his trademark step overs and direct free-kicks, played for two different English Premier English clubs during his stint in England, and was also one of the top African players in the league at the time.

Below are some other facts you may never have come across about the former Nigeria number 10;

1. While he was at Fenerbahçe, Okocha became a Turkish citizen with the name Muhammet Yavuz. This was interpreted by many to mean that he had converted to Islam, which the Delta state football association chairman made little or no fuss about.

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 42nd Birthday

Okocha never converted to Islam

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2. He was not the first to bear the name 'Jay-Jay' with his other names. His brothers, James and Emmanuel, who also played football, had been called by that nickname before they passed it on to their younger sibling.

The name however stuck to the former Bolton FC captain, as he became more popular than his older siblings, who both dropped football much earlier than Okocha did.

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 42nd Birthday

Okocha in action for Bolton Wanderers. Photo: Sun.co.uk

3. Jay-Jay Okocha, while at Paris Saint Germain (PSG) in the French league, was a mentor to then youngster, Brazil's Ronaldinho (who later went on to win the world football player of the year award on several occasions), a new recruit at the club.

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 42nd Birthday

The former footballer is a legend at PSG. Photo: PSG_Inside/Twitter

4. The former Eintracht Frankfurt Midfield maestro was Africa's most expensive player when he moved to French club, PSG, in 1998.

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 42nd Birthday

The footballer was once Africa's most expensive ever

READ ALSO: Remembering The Great Called Samuel Okwaraji

About £14m was spent to 'ship' the talented player to the French capital from Fernebahce.

5. Okocha is arguably the most gifted player to miss out on the African Player of the year award after emerging as the runner up in 1998.

5 Facts To Know About Okocha On His 42nd Birthday

He remains the first player to ever win the BBC African Footballer of the year award, and the first to retain and win it more than once (2003, 2004).

To cap a fantastic 2004, the Enugu Rangers upstart scored the 1000th goal in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations, hosted by Tunisia.

Meanwhile, you can see NAIJ.com's video of the Super Eagles training ahead of the World Cup qualifiers;

Source: Sports.naija.ng

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