Okocha: How Football world celebrated Bolton and Nigeria legend at 47


TheNigeria Football Federation (NFF), Confederation of African Football (Caf), Fifa, Bolton Wanders and Eintracht Frankfurt have celebrated with Jay-Jay Okocha on his 47th birthday.  

The midfielder is regarded as one of the greatest players from Africa, winning the Nigeria Player of the Year award seven times and twice scooped the BBC Africa best player prize.

The governing bodies and his former clubs, where he enjoyed great success, have congratulated him on his birthday.

Okocha, who was born in Enugu, started his career from his home town, where he joined Enugu Rangers in 1990 and his dribbling skills soon draw the attention of

One of his memorable moments in the Nigerian league was his skilful display against BCC Lions, where he rounded off experienced Super Eagles goalkeeper Willy Okpara before finding the back of the net.

He then moved abroad to begin his European career with FC Saarbrucken and his impressive showings soon caught the attention of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Okocha signed for the Bundesliga side in December 1991 and made 90 appearances for the club during his four-year stay.

One of his highlights at the club was his goal against Karlsruher SC in 1993, where he dribbled past a number of players, including German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn before slotting home his effort. The strike was awarded as the Goal of the Season.

The mercurial midfielder then teamed up with Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce in 1996 and helped the club win the Prime Minister's Cup and Ataturk Cup during his time with the side.

Okocha joined PSG for £14 million to become the most expensive African player at the time and scored 12 goals in 84 appearances for the French outfit.

In 2002 he moved to Bolton Wanderers and soon became the toast of the fans, steering the club from relegation in his debut campaign.

He was handed the captain armband following the retirement of Gudni Bergsson and led the side to their first League Cup final in nine years, finishing as runner-up in the competition. He also played for Qatar SC and Hull City before his retirement.  

Okocha had 73 caps and scored 14 goals for the Super Eagles and was part of the side that won the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations.

He helped the West Africans finish as runners-up in the 2000 edition of the continental tournament and played a key role as Nigeria won bronze medals at 2002, 2004 and 2006 Afcons.

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The midfielder played in three World Cup tournaments in 1994, 1998 and 2002 co-hosted by Korea and Japan.