African icon Okocha had Brazilian flair – Roberto Carlos

African icon Okocha had Brazilian flair – Roberto Carlos
Credit: Icon Sport

Legendary Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos heaped high praise on Super Eagles legend and one of the greatest African footballing exports, Jay-Jay Okocha. 

Carlos, who is regarded as one of, if not the greatest, fullback of all time, has achieved many great accolades and trophies in his career. He has won 21 honors including one FIFA World Cup, three UEFA Champions League titles, two Copa America trophies and four La Liga titles, among others. 

Carlos described Okocha as the greatest African player he had ever played against and said the former Super Eagles number 10 had Brazilian flair. This was very high praise coming from one of the game’s great entertainers. 

Carlos picks Okocha as the best African he played against

“Okocha for me…. Okocha looked like a Brazilian player playing,” the 2002 World Cup winner said in an interview.

Okocha was spectacular, seeing him play around the world, for his country, for the clubs he played, in my opinion Okocha had many skills of a Brazilian player.

“He played with elegance when he dribbled, he was very difficult to defend. For me he was an icon of African football.”

Okocha's famous moment against Roberto Carlos

Okocha is a player loved by fans and teammates alike. His talents were undeniable and the skill and flair he played with throughout his career has left a lasting impression on the fans that watched him. 

Roberto Carlos and Jay-Jay Okocha shared the same pitch with each other as opponents on two occasions. This was on the international stage in the group stage and the semi-finals of the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games.

The five-time World Cup winners won the group stage match 1-0 against Nigeria. However, the ‘Dream Team’ as the Super Eagles side was fondly labelled, won the semifinal 4-3 in what was one of the greatest clashes in the history of the Olympic games. 

Photo by Icon Sport

Roberto Carlos scored an own goal in that game while Jay-Jay Okocha featured for the Super Eagles. Kanu Nwankwo was the game-winner after two goals in the 90th and 94th minute of normal time.

The man who was so good, they ‘named him twice' was also one of the most decorated Super Eagles players of all time.

In 1994 Okocha was part of the Super Eagles squad that won the Africa Cup of Nations, he has finished with a medal in five different AFCON tournaments and he is an Olympic gold medalist in 1996. He played 96 times for his country, scoring 14 goals. 

He is a seven-time Nigerian Footballer of the Year but, surprisingly, he has never been crowned African Footballer of the year. He was the top scorer in the 2004 AFCON and was named the best player of that tournament. 

In his club career, he played for clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Fenerbahce, Borussia Neunkirchen, and most famously, Bolton Wanderers. He played 492 games during his club career and scored 101 goals. 

He won six major honors for the clubs he laced up his boots for and retired from football after the 2007/2008 season. 

This article was most recently revised and updated 12 months ago

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