When we talk about football legends in Nigeria, few names are as revered as Jay Jay Okocha. His beautiful display of skills on the pitch made him a legend, not only in Nigeria but in Africa.
The 1994 Africa Cup of Nations champion has however made a statement many, including this writer, may not agree with.
“I don’t think I’d watch the Nigerian league if there is a Premier League match on the television, that is if I am being honest…because the Premier League is more attractive. We need to go back to the drawing board and give ourselves time and put something together that will make our leagues attractive,” Okocha told Capital Sports in Kenya.
But, as a lover of history this writer remembers when Okocha, who is speaking was elected as the Delta State Football Association Chairman, expectations were high. Many believed that his star power and footballing knowledge would bring more development to the administration of football in Delta which was on an upward trajectory. However, what transpired during his brief stint in office, words cannot encapsulate.
One will remember one of Okocha’s key failings was his inability to make Delta State football attractive and financially viable. Even the then Vice Chairman of Delta FA, Edema Fuludu was forced to speak on the epic failure of Austin Jay Jay Okocha. While he now advocates for making Nigerian leagues more appealing, during his time in office, he failed to achieve this fundamental goal.
Delta State FA Cup finals, if this writer remembers perfectly, used to be broadcast live on TV, it however became a thing of the past under his leadership. Sponsors drifted away, and the entire football ecosystem in Delta State suffered terribly.
But, here is the former Paris St Germain (PSG) player speaking ill of the league, when he had the opportunity to lead, this same man failed woefully.
As the Nigerian Premier Football League (NPFL) season expectedly kicks off on September 9, Okocha’s recent comments urging a return to the drawing board and the need for attractive and well-packaged leagues raise eyebrows. Many will remember his own failed tenure, and some may question the credibility of his opinions.
However, as the saying goes, not every great player can be a great administrator, some should stick to dancing for companies on TV.