Sunday, 11 January 2015

Okocha Deserved CAF Award- Hayatou


Confederation of African Football president, Issa Hayatou was of the view that Nigerian football legend, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha deserved to have won the highest African football honour for all his masterful displays during his playing days. 

In 2003 and 2004 respectively when Okocha was at his best, the African player of the year award eluded him, much to the surprise of most Nigerian soccer enthusiasts conversant with African football. Instead, Samuel Eto’o was crowned back to back for those years, with Didier Drogba as runner’s up, while Okocha was third. Coincidentally, the former Super Eagles midfield maestro was voted back to back as the BBC African player of the year for the same period. This led to conspiracy theories that there was a Francophone gang-up against Okocha, who is from Nigeria, an Anglophone country.
“If I have any regret that will be not winning The African Footballer of the Year. But then, I don’t think I was meant to because I gave my best, but at the end, it wasn’t good enough,” said Okocha in a recent interview.
At the 2014 CAF awards, Hayatou seemed to have felt his pain as he described the awards established in 1992 as a magnificent achievement and deserving to be won by players who have distinguished themselves on the field of play.
“Players like Jay Jay Okocha would have been very worthy to feature in the list of winners. But the technicians decided otherwise, it is the law of the game,” Hayatou said in his opening remarks.
Okocha who was named by Pele in his list of 125 legends, started his career with the Super Eagles in 1993 in a game against Cote’d Ivoire during an African World Cup qualifier. He cemented his place in the Super Eagles in subsequent years and was influential in the squad. His was part of the team that won the African Cup of Nations for the second time in 1994 and also gold medal at the Atlanta 96’ Olympic Games. 
Story for the gods..

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