Former Super Eagles captain Austin Okocha has revealed why he chose the name Muhammed Yavuz when he became a Turkish citizen while playing for Fenerbahçe.
In an interview, Okocha talked about his time in Turkey, stating that he spent two years there and that it was a great time for him. He expressed his appreciation for the Turkish people, who he said loved him very much, and praised the club’s fans as amazing.
When the opportunity came for him to become a Turkish citizen, he said he took it without thinking. Okocha revealed that he did not want to change his religion, but he chose the name Muhammed because he knows that Muslims hold the name in high regard.
Okocha also spoke about his relationship with the club’s facility manager, Yavuz, who he described as sympathetic and funny. He stated that he asked Yavuz to give him his surname, which was how he became known as Muhammed Yavuz.
What was said?
“I spent two years in Turkey, and it was a really good time for me,” Okocha said.
“People loved me very much. Our fans were amazing. When such an offer came, I took Turkish citizenship without thinking.
“I didn’t want to change my religion, but I took this name because I know that Muslims love the name Muhammad very much. I accepted this name because it is very sacred and very important to Muslims.
“We had our facility manager, Yavuz. He was very sympathetic, and he made us laugh a lot. I asked him to give me my surname Yavuz. That’s why my name was Muhammed Yavuz.”
Okocha joined Fenerbahçe in 1996 for a transfer fee of approximately £1 million, following Eintracht Frankfurt’s relegation to the 2. Bundesliga. During his two seasons with the team, he scored 30 league goals in 62 appearances, many of which came from direct free kicks, which became his trademark at the club.
Okocha’s choice of name, when he became a Turkish citizen, has been a subject of interest to many, and his explanation sheds light on the thought process behind it.
It is clear that he had a great experience playing for Fenerbahçe, and his choice of name was a reflection of the respect he had for Turkish culture and traditions.