EPL honour Jay-Jay Okocha on Black Month History

"Jay Jay has a great pedigree," said Sam Allardyce when he signed Okocha for Bolton shortly after the midfielder had starred for Nigeria in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
EPL honour Jay-Jay Okocha on Black Month History
Jay-Jay OkochaPremier League

The English Premier League has celebrated Super Eagles legend, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha, as they celebrate the 2021 Black History Month.

During Black History Month, the EPL honour the contribution players of African and Caribbean descent have made to the Premier League in each of the last 30 seasons.

Okocha first joined the EPL in 2002 by singing for Bolton Wanderers (2002 - 04) from French giant, Paris Saint-Germain.

"Jay Jay has a great pedigree," said Sam Allardyce when he signed Okocha for Bolton shortly after the midfielder had starred for Nigeria in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

"He has flair, ability and huge experience. Our ambition is to bring the best quality players we can to show we are trying to progress in the right way."

Okocha had steered Nigeria to the African Cup of Nations and Olympic glory in 1994 and 1996 respectively.

He struggled to adapt to life in Lancashire as Bolton spent much of the season in the middle of a relegation scrap but Okocha's influence grew on the pitch and in the dressing room, where his multilingual talents helped forge a strong team spirit.

His debut season, despite being hampered by injuries, 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 United which 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 to Middlesbrough.

After 14 goals in 124 appearances for Bolton, Okocha left for Qatar only to return to England to help Hull City win promotion to the top flight in 2008, after which he announced his retirement.

In retirement, he has launched the Jay-Jay Okocha Foundation, which uses football to raise awareness on the strategic importance of education, peace and unity for the economic growth of Nigeria.

And he maintains a keen interest in Premier League football as his nephew Alex Iwobi plays for Everton.

Related Stories

No stories found.