Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, has said his choice of clubs may have denied him the chance to win the African Footballer of The Year award during his playing days.
Okocha, who was the African Footballer of the Year runner-up in 1998 and he finished third twice in 2003 and 2004, said he opted to join clubs that offered better wages, than top clubs that tabled less lucrative contracts.
Speaking during an interview on Arise TV, Okocha said, “I would have loved to win the African Footballer of the Year during my days.”
“Maybe I was in the wrong club at that time. It is one award I would have loved to win; it was not easy for an African player to play for top clubs because they don’t pay high wages. When they offer you a contract, the money is small because they see it as doing you a favour.
“That is why I went for clubs that are ready to pay me higher; I go for the higher bidder. I had to turn down some offers from big clubs because of wage issues. But things have changed now, as Africans and Nigerians get bigger football contracts overseas.”
Despite his huge talents and a near-20-year career, Okocha only won the Atatürk Cup with Fenerbahce as well as the Trophée des Champions and UEFA Intertoto Cup with Paris Saint-Germain.
Okocha also won the Olympic football gold with the Nigeria team at Atlanta 1996 and the BBC African Footballer of the Year twice in 2003 and 2004.
The 49-year-old starred for Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain Bolton Wanderer, Qatar SC and Hull City before quitting the scene in 2008 at aged 34.
He appeared for the Super Eagles 75 times with 14 goals to his name.