Austin Okocha is widely considered by pundits Internationally as the best Nigerian footballer ever and as one of the best African players of all time
World Football governing body, FIFA, Confederation of African Football, (CAF) and Bolton Wanderers have sent birthday greetings to legendary Nigerian captain Austin Okocha who turned 50 on Monday, Soccernet.ng reports
Also, Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) and Paris Saint-Germain sent birthday wishes to the famous midfielder.
Okocha during his days on the playing field was a menace to defenders, his trickery and dribbling with the ball were incredible for those who watched the Nigerian number 10 in his active years. His confidence and ability to take on defenders with his technique and flair stood him out among players operating in his position. He was also exceptional at set pieces, scoring beautiful freekicks for club and country.
The 50-year-old featured in three editions of the Men’s World Cup in 1994, 1998, and 2002. Celebrating the former Super Eagles star, FIFA wrote: One of football’s greatest magicians, So good they named him twice, Happy 50th Birthday Jay-Jay Okocha!
One of football's greatest magicians 🪄
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) August 14, 2023
Okocha was a member of the Super Eagles squad that won the 1994 AFCON in Tunisia 1994 and also joined the Super Eagles in the 2000 edition co-hosted with Ghana. He scored three goals in the tournament and ended with a Silver medal.
CAF wrote on their Twitter handle: Happy Birthday to Nigeria’s legend Jay-Jay Okocha!
🪄 𝙈𝘼𝙂𝙄𝘾𝙄𝘼𝙉 🪄
— CAF (@CAF_Online) August 14, 2023
The former Bolton Wanderers of England star made his debut for Nigeria in a World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast in 1993, before he went on to feature for the country in three World Cup editions, five Africa Cup of Nation championships, claiming 1 Silver and 3 Bronze in the continental showpiece before he called it quit with the national team in 2006 with 73 caps.
Commenting on one of Nigeria’s greatest players’ birthday, the NFF wrote: Happy birthday to former @NGSuperEagles midfielder and captain Augustine ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha who turns 50 today.
Hearty cheers Jay Jay
So good, they named you twice!
Happy birthday to former @NGSuperEagles midfielder and captain Augustine 'Jay Jay' Okocha who turns 50 today.
Hearty cheers Jay Jay🍾🥂
So good, they named you twice! pic.twitter.com/4enaH2VEz5
— The NFF 🇳🇬 (@thenff) August 14, 2023
At the club level, Okocha started his playing career with Enugu Rangers in the Nigerian Professional League, before he left the shore of the country to play for the likes of Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers, Qatar SC, and Hull City before retiring in 2008.
PSG, who the former Super Eagles captain wore their jersey between 1998 and 2002 with 84 caps, also celebrated the iconic midfielder on his birthday.
Happy birthday to the magician, Jay-Jay Okocha!
🎂❤️💙 Happy birthday to the magician, Jay-Jay Okocha! 🪄pic.twitter.com/S6M3D9un2K
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 14, 2023
Okocha joined Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer after leaving PSG in the summer of 2002 following the FIFA World Cup. He went on to make 124 appearances for the club and scored 14 goals.
The Whites celebrated their former captain stating: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAY JAY OKOCHA
The 50-year-old was a seven-time Nigerian Footballer of the Year, BBC African Footballer of the Year in 2003, and 2004 and Premier League Player of the Month for November in 2003. Africa and the World appreciate the former Super Eagles captain’s contributions to the beautiful game and he would be respected for years to come.