Born on August 14, 1973 (08/17/1973), he weighs between 70 and 74 kg and measures between 1.7 and 1.75 m.
Okocha began his professional career with CCB Lions, from where he was transferred to Enugu Rangers. De Enugu got a transfer to Eintracht Frankfurt in the 1992/1993 season. Okocha made his first international debut for Nigeria in May 1993 against the Ivory Coast in a qualifying match decided in Abidjan and distinguished himself by scoring Nigeria’s only goal in a game that Nigeria lost 2-1 (2-1). . In another world cup qualifier against Algeria in Lagos, Okocha scored a textbook free kick to level Algeria, who were one goal up. The great performance from him secured a four one win (4-1) over the Algerians. The way he was carried on their shoulders by ecstatic fans showed that he was, indeed, the hero of the day.
The 1994 nation’s cup was another excellent performance for Okocha’s career, as his performance allowed Nigeria to lift the trophy for a second time. He was selected as the member of the best eleven of the tournament (11).
Three months later, Okocha was with the Nigerian team after inspiring Nigeria to their first ever world cup appearance. Although his performance was held back by a foot injury, as he was only able to play ninety (90) minutes against Italy and was voted man of the match in the match that dismissed Nigeria from the world cup that year. However, these feats were enough to earn him a place in the African football of the year in 1994.
Despite Okocha’s achievement in 1994, in December 1994 he was sacked along with two of his clubmates; Ghanaian Tony Yeboah and former German international Maurizio Gaudino, for an accusation that coach Jupp Heynckes described as serious indiscipline and insubordination. The trio went their separate ways Tony Yeboah and Maurizio Gaudino departed for England’s Leeds United and Manchester City respectively. Okocha switched bases to Turkey with Turkish champion fernerbache in a lucrative two-year deal worth $4 million.
It should be noted that the highlight of his stay in Frankfurt was the 1993/1994 season when one of his goals was adjusting the goal of the season. The goal was classic, Okocha, as he dislodged four opponents, including the goalie (don’t ask the goalie’s name) over and over again, before lobbing the ball into the net.
Okocha chose Fernerbache over other offers from Spain, France and even Germany due to his desire to play alongside his national team colleague Uche Okechukwu, who had teamed up with Fernerbache to finish second in the Turkish championship.
Okocha tasted international glory again when he came on as a substitute for Nigeria in a 1-0 win over Uzbekistan in the second leg of the Afro Asia Cup, ahead of the Afro Asia Cup. He played for Nigeria in the United States Cup and scored in all three of their two defeats (3-2) loss to the United States. Okocha’s great feat earned him Turkish citizenship and much publicity in 1997 for his contribution to the progress of Turkish football. Okocha won the Turkish championship in the 1996/1997 season scoring 16 goals in 33 games and earning a place in the UEFA Champions League, he finished as one of the top scorers in 1995/1996 and 1996/1997 with 14 and 16 goals respectively.
Okocha enriched his international career by winning Africa’s first Olympic gold medal in soccer with the Nigeria Under-23 team in Atlanta in 1996, scoring a penalty twice against Mexico in the quarterfinals.
Okocha’s feat in the World Cup in France 98 where he swept and dazzled Spain, Bulgaria and Denmark. Jay Jay was marked as the player of true class every time he received the ball, he had thousands of spectators moving in his seat contemplating what magic he would cast next. It was not a surprise that he was nominated for the team of the tournament, albeit as an alternate.
The coordinating president of France 98 and current president of UEFA, Michel Platini, describes Okocha as one of the few remaining 10 pures in world football.
PSG manager Alain Giresse had an affair with Jay Jay when he started the move that resulted in Nigeria’s only goal against Bulgaria at Parc De Princes in Paris, which incidentally is PSG’s home ground. The match ended 1-0 in favor of Nigeria. Okocha became the French transfer record and became the most expensive African player in the last millennium with an $18 million transfer from Fernerbache to PSG.
Okocha married Nkechi in 1997, and their first child was born when the World Cup took place in 1998. The child’s name was named Daniella. He also has a son.
He was the best player on the continent in the World Cup in France 98, he became the second best player in Africa in 1998 when the African footballer of the year award was given to Hadji Mustapha of Morocco.
Okocha featured in the 2000 Nigeria/Ghana nations cup, a superb player who scored twice in Nigeria’s 4-2 win over Algeria. Okocha received the red card in the quarterfinal tie against Senegal. He missed the semi-final match against South Africa and scored for Nigeria in the final against Cameroon, scoring Nigeria’s equalizing goal with a rocket shot, the match ending 5-3 on penalties which the Cameroonians won.
In the 2002 nations cup, Okocha’s passing and skills should not be discounted as they pose a threat to the opponent, although he was denied goal, his passing and skills were felt in the matches.
With the departure and firing of key Super Eagles players, another team was formed and Jay Jay Okocha was entrusted with the role of captain. Okocha captained Nigeria to the 2002 Korea Japan World Cup, although it became Nigeria’s worst World Cup when Nigeria was grouped together with Argentina, England and Sweden. Nigeria finished bottom of the table in the group, but Jay Jay Okocha’s experience and skills earned him a move to England’s Bolton Wanderers.
Okocha has mentored the likes of Ronaldinho, and Everton Play creator Mikel Arteta at PSG helped Bolton go from relegation contender to UEFA Cup contender. He was given captaincy responsibilities after his excellent first season at Bolton.
Okocha was among the top five in the Premier League in his second season at Bolton. Players like Aston Villa’s Sorensen Ray Palour and Arsenal’s Dennis Bergkamp will not be forgotten for his free kick and great skill. He helps Bolton to their first Carling Cup final and sixth position for the first time in decades.
His performance was superb when he led Nigeria to Tunisia 2004, scoring the 1,000th CAF Nations Cup goal in a 4-0 win over South Africa. He sent home spectacular free kicks that ensure Nigeria’s qualification ahead of Cameroon in the quarterfinals. He was nominated for the African Footballer of the Year in 2004. He was the second best player in Africa on two consecutive occasions: 2004 and 2005 respectively. He was the BBC Africa Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
Okocha was released from Bolton along with Fadiga, N’Gotty and Matt Jensen. He decided to move to Qatar on a lucrative one-year contract, half of what Tranbzonspor had offered him. He decided to move to Qatar ahead of Wigan, Reading and Everton.
Okocha returned to England as he was signed by a lower division who are now doing well in the top league (Hull City). Although the injury has been a major setback for Jay Jay, he was with the Hull City side defeated by Chelsea in the Carling Cup. Hull City remained the only club that Okocha did not score. Hull City were promoted to the Premier League last season. He inspired Hull City to promote them back to the top division and he left the club after their promotion. With Okocha’s departure from the national team, it will be difficult to find a replacement to fill Okocha’s big shoe. Though young players like Lukman Haruna and Rabiu Ibrahim are showing great class, showing and potential to be the next Super Eagles playmaker. It took eight years to find a replacement for Green Eagles Mudashiru Lawal. Osaro Obaifo, John ENE Okon, Friday Ekpo were unable to replace Lawal until the arrival of Austin Okocha. How long will it take to find a replacement for this great player named Okocha who retired from football as a player on June 27, 2008, said Waidi Akanmu?