Xavier: Nigeria yet to find Okocha’s replacement


Francis Xavier has stated that he will always include Augustine ‘Jay-Jay’ Okocha in his team at any given time.

Okocha, now 46, was a joy to watch during his playing days both at club and national levels. And Xavier, former AFC Leopards midfielder, has explained why he will go for the former Super Eagles star.

“Okocha is one player who was very influential on the pitch and could create as well as score goals,” Xavier told Goal on Tuesday.

“He was very skilled and could dribble his way out of trouble at any given time. Another impressive characteristic was his ability to adapt to any given game and have a positive effect on his team.

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“On most occasions, Okocha was physically fit and his technical ability was on another level.”

The creative midfielder helped Nigeria to win the 1994 AFCON and played a huge role as the team finished second in 2000 and third in 2002, 2004 and 2006. He was also in the team that won the 1996 Olympic Games as well as the Afro-Asian Cup of Nations in 1995.

“Okocha won many individual and collective awards but he remained humble and disciplined until his retirement,” Xavier added.

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“Nigeria are still struggling to find his replacement who can consistently deliver for the team and help them hit greater heights.”

Okocha made 75 appearances for the Super Eagles, scoring 14 goals in the process.

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