Former Nigerian silky footballer and one of the most skillful players to emerge from the continent – Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha feels short changed for not winning the African Footballer of the Year award during his illustrious career.
A quick, talented, and skilful playmaker, Jay Jay Okocha shot to prominence as early as 1991 when he joined Eintracht Frankfurt, where he linked up with Ghanaian goal poacher – Tony Yeboah.
One highlight that sums up Okocha’s career in the Bundesliga is a mouth watering goal he scored against Karlsruher SC, dribbling in the penalty box and slotting the ball past goalkeeper Oliver Kahn even going past some players twice.
In 1998, the Nigerian dribbling monster shuts the headlines when French side Paris Saint-Germain spent around £14 million to sign Okocha him, making him the most expensive African player then. In fact, he served as the mentor to Brazilian attacking midfield ‘trickster’ Ronaldinho.
Having been the star African player in that calendar year, Okocha felt it was the right moment to have been crowned African Footballer of the Year, but he lost the prize to Morocco’s Mustapha Hadji.
His scintillating performance with Bolton Wanderers earned him another nomination in 2004, but lost to Cameroonian striker Samuel Eto’o Fils.
Speaking in an interview with Brila, Okocha said he regret for not winning the African Footballer of the Year award.
“Well, I think I don’t want to sound greedy, but I’ve had an amazing career, I never thought I would make it that big.
“But of course, if you look back, there’s always a time that you say oh maybe you could’ve done a bit better than you did. And if I’m to say, I’ll say, I regret not winning the African Footballer of the Year.
“I thought I did enough to have won it because it was not a fluke that I won BBC player of the year three years in a row and not manage to win that CAF award, but I mean maybe it was not meant to be,” added the former PSG star.