By Dennis Mabuka
The governing body posted a video of the 48-year-old during his prime while turning out for the Super Eagles in the World Cup
World governing body Fifa remembered Nigeria legend Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha with a video showing his dribbling skills during the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan.
The 48-year-old was the darling of many during the competition where the Super Eagles were pooled alongside Argentina, Sweden, and England.
Fifa shared a video containing highlights when the former Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain, and Bolton Wanderers player showed his skills during the group stage fixture.
In the video captioned “Who is the most skillful player to have ever played the beautiful game? Jay-Jay Okocha wasn’t bad, so good, they had to name him twice!”, Okocha is seen weaving past Sweden’s rearguard but his final effort did not find the back of the net.
The video has elicited debate on social media with a number of fans the singing praise of the player, who played 73 times for the Super Eagles between 1993 and 2006 and scored 14 times.
“It was an absolute joy to watch Okocha doing the unthinkable with the ball on his feet… the man is a legend,” wrote Kanelo Matiea while Matshogo Pule labelled Okocha as more skillful than PSG’s Lionel Messi: “Skillful more than Messi.”
Who is the most skilful player to have ever played the beautiful game? Jay-Jay Okocha wasn’t bad
So good, they had to name him twice!
Jose Kamash wrote: “Austin Jay-Jay Okocha the wizard,” while Robson Jena said: “Austin ‘Jay-Jay Okocha is the greatest.”
“Definitely Jay-Jay Okocha, the football magician,” answered Chukwuemeka while Oyedokun Olaniyi wrote: “You are the best dribbler that came out of Africa, one of the best that ever played the game.
“If you are a European or South American, you would play for the topmost club in Europe and get the nomination for Ballon d’Or. We celebrate you.”
Harbey called on Fifa to name the move after Okocha: “That move should be named after him. I haven’t seen any other player do it,” while Professional Barber said: “This man will always be a legend and Nigeria will always be proud of you.”
Habazz opined: “The most SKILLFUL ever, even Ronaldinho knows that ever since,” while Oluwatobi Oladipo wrote: “Okocha was in the class of his own… He owned his space.”
“He was unstoppable and master of the game,” concluded Kolade Omole.
Okocha played across multiple leagues, starting his career at Enugu Rangers in the Nigerian Professional Football League before moving to Borussia Neunkirchen in Oberliga Sudwest, Germany’s third division in July 1990.
He made his official debut for Nigeria in their 2-1 1994 Fifa World Cup qualifier away loss against Ivory Coast in May 1993.