Jay Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu were two of Nigeria’s most recognised players in the nineties but, for Yakubu Aiyegbeni, compatriot Daniel Amokachi towered above them all.
The former Everton star has identified another former Toffee ace Amokachi has the role model he tried to mould his style after while growing up in Nigeria.
Born in Kaduna, Amokachi emerged as a promising forward on the domestic scene starring for Ranchers Bees, where he was picked by Nigerian national team coach Clemens Westerhof to participate at the 1990 African Nations Cup.
A key member of Everton’s 1995 FA Cup-winning team, Amokachi was also crucial as Nigeria won the 1994 African Cup of Nations as well as the 1996 Olympic Games football gold medal.
The talented attacker’s powerful playing style and robust displays earned him the nickname ‘The Bull’ and adhered him to the hearts of millions of Nigerian fans.
A young Aiyegbeni watched the exploits of the former Club Brugge striker and imbibed some of his qualities en route a prolific goalscoring career.
And when the highest scoring Nigerian in Premier League history was asked to name his footballing role model growing up, he didn’t hesitate to call Amokachi.
“Growing up watching (Daniel) Amokachi was something nice, I call him sexy big brother. He’s a nice guy,” the former Portsmouth star told South African journalist Carol Tshabalala via Instagram.
“He was the assistant manager of the national team as well when I was in the national team, so it was an honour to be with him in the same team, we didn’t play together there, we were very close.
“Watching him on TV, the way he bullied the defenders, the way he scores goals, you can see the smile on his face, and the dedication is there.
“Watching him, Kanu and Jay-Jay is unbelievable,” added Yakubu.