Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha was arguably one of the best number 10 of his generation, his creativity and dribbling abilities were the standout features of his game.
Okocha wasn’t a goal machine, but when he did find the back of the net, his goals were breathtaking – Golazo.
His retirement from international football after the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations left a massive void that none has managed to fill in the Super Eagles or Coaches have clearly given up searching.
Okocha was simply an artist. His ability on the ball was unique, he wowed opponents and teammates alike.
Intelligent and creative in attacking transitions, he was a Maestro.
A former Nigerian teammate and later Coach of the Eagles, Daniel Amokachi considers the Midfielder the greatest number 10 the Country has produced, but also insists 7 years after the latter quit, the closest Nigeria came to replacing him was with Raheem Lawal.
Amokachi argues that the only player who bore any semblance to the talent Okocha possessed was Lawal.
In 2013 Raheem Lawal, then 23, was emerging as a massive midfield talent with the on-field quality to rival the best.
However, he never lived up to the potentials he possessed, partly due to injuries and also his poor disciplinary record, according to Amokachi.
Lawal missed out on a place in Nigeria’s 2013 squad to the AFCON, but blames among other things Amokachi’s – the assistant Coach – personal interests in certain players for his own exclusion.
Responding to the allegations during his show “Bull’s Pit” on Brila FM, Monday, the former Coach said,”This is me I cannot tell you he’s not a good player because he said something shitty about me.”
“For me 100 percent, all the names they’ve mentioned was close or would take over from Jay Jay, Raheem was the closest.”
“My brother it’s a shame you didn’t utilize the talent you had, blame yourself don’t blame anybody else. If you think I was responsible for you not making the AFCON 2013 team and not to have the M.O.N that you want, my apologies.”
“But 100 percent it wasn’t me. Forgive us for not taking you, but you should be happy for Nigeria for winning it and any time, it’ll be my pleasure to give you the O.O.N that I have.”