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Football | Nigeria at 50

Jay-Jay brought tears to my eyes - Emma

Former Nigeria International Emma Okocha described the early beginnings and rise to stardom of his younger brother Austin jay-jay Okocha in an exclusive interview with SuperSport.com

You can watch the really interesting video interview here

The Emma Okocha Video Interview

Emma Okocha’s career was at its peak in 1990 when he scored Nigeria’s lone goal in a 1-5 loss to Algeria in the opening match of the African Cup of Nations in Algeria. He was a firm favourite with then Dutch coach Clemens Westerhof.He would star as Nigeria finished a close second, losing narrowly 0-1 to Algeria in the finals.

He would remain an integral member of the team and as his career nose-dived dramatically, his brother’s star began to rise. Though even he didn’t take notice until a memorable encounter that he shared with us.

He told SuperSport.com: “When I think about Jay-Jay, there’s always this wry smile on my face, you know, because of how we grew up and everything.

“When I was in the National team in the late ‘80s and 1990, he was playing for his school team and I never took time to actually find out how he was doing. I never actually took notice, maybe because I was much engrossed with my own career. I was always travelling. I never actually found out how good he was or what was going on, on the side.”

Emma also starred for the legendary club Rangers, where jay-jay would make his mark before heading to Europe. He spoke fondly about the first time he came face to face with the reality of his brother’s abundant talents. “When I came back, he had signed for CCB, that’s the bank, and he was playing for them and I was like ‘okay, I’m going to go and find out how he is doing one of these days’.

The next game we had, an FA cup game, was against CCB. I didn’t even know he was in the first team. I used to hear little things about him but when we lined up, I saw him lining up on the other side.”

“I was like, ‘have you finished your house chores? Did you finish washing the plates before you came out?’ He was just laughing. We shook hands and, to my utmost surprise, he was the man of the match. He tore Rangers apart. We won that game one nil but it was narrow and I was like ‘okay, that gave me a little bit of something to think about’.”

Emma sums it up nicely: “In a very short way, he brought tears to my eyes a lot of times watching him play. Tears of joy.”


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