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Why I left Eintracht Frankfurt – Jay Jay Okocha

Former Super Eagles skipper, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has revealed why he left German club, Eintracht Frankfurt.

In a question and answer session with Eintracht Frankfurt TV, ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha discussed a wide range of topics from his time back at the club to his plans for the future.

Okocha spent four great years at Frankfurt in the nineties, having previously played for German third division side Borussia Neunkirchen.

The gifted midfield maestro was at Eintracht when he helped Nigeria win the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations title, the country’s second continental title.

Okocha left the club in 1996 shortly after excelling at the Atlanta Olympic Games, where he played a crucial role as Nigeria won the football gold.

He went on to achieve cult hero status at Fenerbahce, PSG, and Bolton Wanderers before retiring in 2008.

Still, many Frankfurt fans and Germans remember his exploits in the country, with a few, including Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, finding it hard to forget his famous goal against the legendary Oliver Kahn.

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Regarded as one of the most incredible goals in Bundesliga history, Okocha dribbled a few Karlsruher SC defenders in the penalty box and seemingly embarrassed goalkeeper Kahn before slotting the ball into the net.

But the 2000 Afcon silver medalist insists he was not looking to make fun of the German hero on the day as he was merely doing his job.

Below are excerpts of his chat as he touched on other issues.

On whether he’s still a fan of the club, he said: “Yes, of course, I’m still a big fan of the Eintracht. Whenever I have the time, I make sure I watch the games.”

On feeling nervous when making his Bundesliga debut for Frankfurt, he stated: “I was not afraid. I was not nervous, because I realised that it could be an opportunity to really stay with the first team. Because sometimes you only get one chance.

“So, I was very determined to take that opportunity. I don’t think I was nervous. I was looking forward to it. I was highly motivated to take that opportunity.”

On leaving Frankfurt, he said: “It was hard, and I didn’t want to leave but because we got relegated and I wanted to still play in the top division. That was the only reason why I left.”

On what he presently does with his time
“I do a lot of ambassador work for corporates, and I have my own private businesses that I do as well.”

On his plans for the future
“For the rest of my life, my plan is to retire as early as I can and enjoy my life. I work hard, and I try to also enjoy my life whenever I have the opportunity.”

Aside from winning the Goal of the Year in Germany in 1993, Okocha won the Nigeria Footballer of the Year award seven times, the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations Best Player, and the BBC African Footballer of the Year twice.

Despite being widely regarded as one of the best African players in history, Okocha was never named the African Footballer of the Year. He finished as runner-up in 1998 and third place twice – in 2003 and 2004.

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