Former Super Eagles forward, Segun Odegbami aka ‘Mathematical’ has hailed another ex-eagle, Jay Jay Okocha on his 47th birthday.
He described his story to the top as the “stuff of fairytales”. He also recalled Okocha’s memorable humiliation of legendary goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn.
Odegbami further described the former Bolton and PSG midfielder as “the ultimate football artist, a pure magician and flamboyant showman.”
“I found out rather late in the day that today [Friday] is the 47th birthday of a Nigerian football player who was ‘so good, the fans named him twice’,” he wrote.
“Was it not yesterday that he left the coalfields of Enugu an 18-year-old unknown player in search of green pastures on the lush fields of Germany?
“His story after that has become of the stuff of fairytales. He fought and dribbled his way through the difficult ranks of European football to emerge at the end of a very illustrious career as one of the most mesmerising figures in world football, defined by his extra-ordinary dribbling skills and the most sexy movements with the ball, weaving and dancing through tight defences.
“He also regularly put on display the full array of his gifts of the most delicate of touches on the ball, and uncanny instincts to, often times, bury the ball behind a sprawling goalkeeper.
“He made one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Oliver Kahn to ‘eat’ the grass underneath his feet after turning him and 4 other defenders inside out, and outside in, in bewildering dribbles that left them all for dead and¹ in a daze.
“His romance and love affair with football are surreal. He was the ultimate football artist, a pure magician and flamboyant showman.
“This is a sincere salutation, on behalf of all generations of Nigerian (and, indeed, all lovers of ‘the beautiful game’ in Africa and beyond) footballers to a true genius, a role model for millions of young ambitious youths around the world, and a great ambassador for football and his country.
“May the Creator of the Universe continue to bless, expand, enrich, guide and protect you in all things and ways.
“Congratulations and a Happy Birthday, Austin Jay Jay Okocha.”