Super Eagles icon, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has unveiled the players he wished to share the field with during his playing days, Soccernet.ng reports.
Okocha emphasized his preference for teammates capable of handling the “dirty job” on the pitch, citing Sunday Oliseh as someone who fulfilled that role during their playing days.
However, Okocha revealed that he harbored a strong desire to play alongside former Ghanaian and Chelsea star, Michael Essien, and former Ivorian and Manchester City powerhouse, Yaya Toure.
Okocha praised Toure’s versatility, highlighting his ability to tackle, contribute offensively, press opponents, and defend solidly during his prime.
During his career, Toure spent the majority of his time at the Etihad Stadium, amassing 59 goals in 230 games after transferring from Barcelona.
Speaking to Goal Africa, Okocha explained the importance of having teammates willing to perform the less glamorous aspects of the game.
“There are few of them because, I mean sometimes, players like me, you need somebody who will do the dirty job for you,” he said.
He fondly remembered playing with Sunday Oliseh, who embodied this selfless approach.
“I would have loved to play with, I will say I played with one. You know that he was doing most of the dirty job, [Sunday] Oliseh.” he continued.
Okocha also revealed his admiration for Essien and Toure, two African football legends.
He described Essien as a complete midfielder who pressed opponents and contributed defensively, though he did not tackle as aggressively as Essien or Oliseh.
“I would have loved to play with Michael Essien as well as Yaya Toure.
“I think he was a complete midfield player for me, not just offensive. He presses as well and used to do a lot of defensive work, but not that he tackles like Essien or even Oliseh, never used to tackle” he revealed.
Okocha’s selections were based on the ability to cover various positions on the pitch effectively.
“You know it’s all about covering the right areas, knowing where to be, how to mark, and yes, with his goals, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have loved to play alongside him,” Okocha concluded.
Throughout his career, Okocha plied his trade in various leagues, representing notable clubs like Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers, and more.