It’s been more than a decade since the Super Eagles hero said his goodbyes to active football, but his style and legend is still inspiring young talents who were toddlers when he was rocking the Premier League
New West Ham signing Armstrong Oko-Flex has confirmed his Nigerian roots while naming Bolton Wanderers icon Austin ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha among the superstars he admired when growing up.
Widely regarded as one of the most gifted African midfielders football has ever seen, Okocha was the master of the dribble, armed with the biggest ever bag of tricks.
From Frankfurt to Fenerbahce to Paris Saint Germain to Bolton Wanderers to the Super Eagles and the four corners of the earth, fans still relive the many beautiful memories left behind by the two-time BBC Africa Footballer of the Year.
While Oko-Flex was an infant when Okocha was at the peak of his powers in the Premier League, the 19-year-old revealed he saw on Youtube some of the ‘crazy things’ the Nigerian legend did with the ball at his feet.
The skilful Irish lad, while admitting that he has Nigerian roots, also confessed that Okocha – alongside Brazilian greats Ronaldinho and Ronaldo – inspired his style of play.
“I grew up admiring a few players: Ronaldinho because he was just gifted; Brazilian Ronaldo, who, for a No9, had everything; and Jay-Jay Okocha, because my parents are originally from Nigeria, and he’s someone I grew up watching on YouTube – he did some crazy things back in the past!”, Oko-Flex told West Ham United’s official site.
“I also like to entertain, but it’s also about doing it in the right amount. Goals win you games, and I’m an attacker, so goals and assists are very important to me.
“I like to be direct, take on players, and work hard for the team and myself as well.”
“I just try and create as many goals as possible and help my team to win.
“As a footballer, I just want to play at the highest level I can.”
“I want to play for my country and just make my family and the people around me proud.”
“I can’t wait for the season to start, to get more games, and hopefully try and achieve some goals that I have within myself.”
Born in Dublin and trained at Arsenal, Oko-Flex spent the last three years at Celtic, and it was with the Bhoys that he earned the national team callup to represent the Republic of Ireland’s U19 side.
Still eligible to play for the Super Eagles, Oko-Flex joined West Ham United on June 25, on a two-year contract with an option for a third year.