Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha first began playing football on the street just like many other football stars, usually with a makeshift ball. In 1990 he joined Enugu Rangers. In his time at the club he produced many spectacular displays.
Okocha joined Eintracht Frankfurt in 1992, where he shined, one highlight being a goal he scored against Karlsruhe, dribbling in the penalty box and slotting the ball past Oliver Kahn even going past some players twice. The goal was voted Goal of the Season by many soccer magazines.
Okocha joined Turkish club Fenerbahçe following Eintracht Frankfurt’s relegation to Bundesliga 2. In his two seasons with the team he amassed thirty goals in sixty appearances, many of them coming from direct freekicks which had become something of a trademark for him at the club. He was also part of the side that historically defeated Manchester United 1–0 at Old Trafford in the 1996-1997 UEFA Champions League group stage. While at Fenerbahçe he became a Turkish citizen as “Muhammet Yavuz“.
In 1998 French side PSG splashed around $24 million on Okocha, making him the most expensive African player at the time. During his 4-year stint with PSG, he played 84 matches and scored 12 goals.
Okocha joined Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer after leaving PSG in the summer of 2002 after the FIFA World Cup. His debut season, despite being hampered by injury, made him a favourite with the Bolton fans, with the team printing shirts with the inscription “Jay-Jay – so good they named him twice“. He steered the team away from relegation with seven goals, including the team Goal of the Season in the vital league win against West Ham. This was voted Bolton’s best Premier League goal in a fans vote in 2008. The next season saw Okocha receive more responsibility as he was given the captain’s armband following Guðni Bergsson’s retirement. As captain he led Bolton to their first cup final in nine years where they finished runners-up in the 2004 Football League Cup.
After just one season in Qatar, Football League Championship side Hull City signed Okocha on a free transfer in 2007, at the end of the season, after changing his mind on a proposed retirement due to Hull’s promotion, he was released by the club, which sent him into retirement.
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