The Super Eagles icon was Africa’s first and best football entertainer, who played for Paris Saint-Germain, Eintracht Frankfurt, and Bolton Wanderers, among others.
A veteran reporter, Geoff Shreeves, has showered encomiums on Super Eagles legend Austin Jay Jay Okocha.
Shreeves, who joined Sky Sports in 1992, the first season of the Premier League, has singled out Okocha as one of the most stand-out players from Africa.
The time Okocha spent at Bolton, which started in 2002 when he joined Sam Allardyce’s battling Wanderers, is nothing short of legendary.
The then-outstanding Super Eagles star was a big thing for Les Parisiens, captivating the crowd with his skill and elegance.
Recall that Okocha received the freedom and accountability that top teams were hesitant to offer him under Allardyce.
He welcomed both and read the game far more thoroughly and quickly than his teammates.
The former PSG midfielder valued subtle details, little dragbacks, and stepovers that were aesthetic.
Jay-Jay Okocha free-kick for Bolton vs Aston Villa in 2004, with Peter Brackley commentary 🇳🇬⚽️ pic.twitter.com/FEraD8Qu0g
— James Nalton (@JDNalton) April 25, 2020
Aside from earning a solid reputation in the German Bundesliga for Frankfurt, where he scored 18 goals, and in the domestic league for PSG, where he scored 12 goals, the Super Eagles hero also scored 14 goals. He contributed 11 assists in 124 outings for Bolton.
He did, however, assist the Whites that season in avoiding relegation.
Speaking on Supersport TV, Shreeves asserts that the Nigerian was one of the finest African players he had witnessed in the league.
“We’ve had so much amazing talent come to the Premier League, players from the African continent”. he said.
According to Shreeves, Okocha’s transfer from the French league to Bolton, who were in the relegation zone, was still a surprise to everyone.
“I would say Jay Jay Okocha when he first arrived. I mean, how Sam persuaded him to sign for Bolton, I have no idea, but what we were talking about just now is that he wasn’t afraid, off the cuff, of the trickery during games.”
Along with his lavish praise for the Legend, he added:
“He wasn’t a show-off. He was a showman, yeah, and there’s a distinct difference exactly, so I’ll probably say he [Okocha] was a fantastic footballer, physically straight, and more than just a show party.”
After four seasons with the Trotters, the playmaker moved to Qatar for a season before being grabbed on a free transfer by Hull City.