This is the Biography and Net Worth of the legendary Nigerian football magician, Augustine Azuka Okocha, widely known as Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha. It is widely believed that ‘Jay Jay’ was so good that they named him twice.
Okocha was born on August 14, 1973 in Enugu State, Nigeria. He hails from Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, Nigeria and he is a retired Nigerian professional footballer, who played as an attacking midfielder. In his playing days, Okocha played with so much skill and flair and he has been hailed as one of the all time greats of African football.
Jay-Jay Okocha was known for his confidence and good shooting technique from free-kicks, but most especially for his outstanding dribbling skills, technical ability and creativity.
It is interesting to note that he is from a family of talented footballers. His two elder brothers James and Emmanuel Okocha started playing football before him. Infact, the name Jay-Jay was actually passed down from his elder brother James, who started playing football first. His immediate elder brother, Emmanuel was also called Emma Jay-jay, but the name stuck with Okocha instead.
He started playing football on the streets just like many other football stars, usually with a makeshift ball.
In an interview with BBC Sport he had this to say “as far as I can remember, we used to play with anything, with any round thing we could find, and whenever we managed to get hold of a ball, that was a bonus! I mean it was amazing!”
In 1990, he joined Enugu Rangers. While he was with the club he exhibited many spectacular displays including one where he rounded off and scored a goal, against experienced Nigerian goalkeeper William Okpara in a match against BCC Lions.
His breakthrough into professional football came when he went on holiday to West Germany in 1990, to watch the German league football. His friend Binebi Numa was playing in the Third Division for Borussia Neunkirchen, and one morning Okocha accompanied Numa to training, where he asked to join in. The Neunkirchen coach could not help but notice Jay jay Okocha’s skills. The coach was so impressed, he invited him back the next day before offering him a contract.
None of this escaped former coach of league rivals Eintracht Trier, Dragoslav Stepanović who steered him to Frankfurt in 1992, where his spectacular dribblings catapulted him into the headlines.
Notable was his 3:1 goal against Karlsruher SC in the Bundesliga on the 31st of August 1993, where Jay Jay Okocha dribbled past the opposing defenders several times, as well as the goalkeeper, Oliver Kahn, before putting the ball in the back of the net. This was voted goal of the year by German TV viewers.
After Eintracht Frankfurt was relegated into second Bundesliga in 1996, Okocha transferred to Turkish first division club Fenerbahce during which he took the Turkish citizenship as Muhammet Yavuz.
In 2002, Jay Jay Okocha made the switch to Premier League club Bolton Wanderers, where he managed 124 appearances and 14 goals. He was voted BBC African player of the year in 2003 and 2004.
When Bolton decided not to extend the Nigerian’s contract in 2006, he spent a year in Qatar before signing a one year contract with the Championship Club Hull City for the 2007/08 season, with whom he achieved promotion into the Premier League.
In 1994, 1998, and 2002, he participated at the World Cup for the Nigerian national football team-the Super Eagles. In 1994 and 1998, the team got to the knock out stages.
His biggest international successes with the Nigerian National team include winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 and the Olympic gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.
At the Africa Cup of Nations in 2004, Jay Jay Okocha led the Super Eagles to third place and was also voted the best player of the tournament. He was also top scorer with four goals.
It is worthy to note that, In 2004, the World Football Association added Jay Jay Okocha to the “FIFA 100” the list of 125 greatest living footballers.
On 21 February 2015, Okocha was elected as the Chairman of the Delta State Football Association.
He is married to Nkechi Okocha and they are blessed with two children, a boy and a girl.
As of 2016, Jay Jay Okocha net worth stood at $150 million.