Today, Tuesday, August 14 is the 45th birthday of Super Eagles great Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha.
Okocha’s exploits in football are well documented. To celebrate the great on his 45th birthday, we highlight the five top individual moments of his career.
1. Goal against Oliver Kahn
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In a 1993 Bundesliga game between Eintracht Frankfurt and Karlsruher SC, Kahn was in goal when Jay Jay scored a now famous goal.
Okocha who was a second-half substitute for Frankfurt dribbled the entire defence of Karlsruhe including the Khan several times before slotting the ball into the net to make it 3-1 for his team.
"Exactly 23 years, sensational goal from Jay-Jay Okocha. Here today – and still dizzy…" Khan wrote on his official Twitter account in last August.
Yea, we get it, it’s hard to recover from such experience.
2. Nigeria Vs Denmark in France 98
While Nigerians do not have any fond memories of this game (Super Eagles lost 4-1) many believe that this game was Okocha's auditioning for a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
It was an Okocha show on that night in June at the Stade de France in France. On that night, he showcased the madness that his talent was.
Unfamiliar leg-over style, incredible flicks etc.
While the Danes were scoring against the Super Eagles, Okocha was having fun on the pitch.
A few months later he was back to that stadium in Paris Saint-Germain colours.
3. Goal against Cameroon in the final of 2000 AFCON
It was 2000 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final at the National Stadium in Lagos and Nigeria were two goals down to Cameroon in the 31st minute.
The Super Eagles were being outplayed and outmuscled by the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at their own backyard. They scored a goal late in the first half and just two minutes into the second period, Okocha controlled a ball and refiled a fierce shot outside the penalty area into the back of the net.
It was simply stunning and remains one of the best goals in an AFCON final.
4. Stunning goal for Bolton against West Ham in April 2003
Many would argue that Okocha played his best football at Bolton Wanderers. Although always talented with a twinkle feet almost impossible to catch, Okocha never achieved anything in club football.
At Bolton, his showboating was curtailed into more purposeful style of play.
In a game against fellow relegation battlers West Ham in 2003, Okocha scored a screamer in the 1-0 win for Bolton Wanderers. It was a very vital goal which gave Bolton all the three points to save them from the drop.
5. Free-kick goal against Cameroon in 2004
Now a more responsible player, Okocha led the Super Eagles to the 2004 AFCON in Tunisia. In the quarter-final against arch rivals Cameroon, the then Super Eagles No 10 curled a fantastic free-kick into the back of the net to level the scores.