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"African players are taking European football by storm" - BBC African Footballer of the Year, Jay-Jay Okocha

Category: World Service

Date: 11.04.2005
Printable version

Austin 'Jay-Jay' Okocha is the greatest footballer to come out of Africa, according to listeners of BBC Africa's Fast Track.


The Nigerian captain, who plays for Bolton Wanderers in the English Premiership, has won the BBC African Footballer of the Year award for the second year in a row.


But as BBC Fast Track presented the trophy to him at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton on Saturday (9 April), ahead of the game with Fulham, he played down his talents saying he is only one of a number of African football players "taking the game by storm."


Okocha will be interviewed in Fast Track's edition on Monday 11 April at 4.30pm (GMT).


Football fans outside Africa can hear the programme online at


Okocha beat Cameroon international Samuel Eto'o Fils and Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins into second and third place respectively.


Speaking at Saturday's presentation, Okacha said: "There have been so many great African players it would be remiss of me to pick out one individual.


"African players are taking European football by storm.  It is fantastic to see so many African players playing well and becoming household names in the European leagues.


"They have made a massive impact on European football and the many players coming through the system in Africa now have dreams of reaching the big leagues in Europe.


"We are role models to these young kids and they want to become the next Samuel Eto'o or Didier Drogba.


"It is a great honour to win this prestigious award for the second time. As a professional player it is my duty to bring pleasure to the many African people who voted for me.  I would like to thank them for their generous support."


Okocha went on to talk about his career at Bolton Wanderers: "Since moving to Bolton Wanderers, my career has changed for the better. I am now playing the best football of my career and that is testament to the players and coaching staff of the Club."


The BBC African Footballer of the Year award is decided by listeners of BBC Fast Track on the BBC World Service and visitors to


Notes to Editors


The BBC African Footballer of the Year award has been running since 1992 and previous winners include Abedi Pele and Samuel Osei Kuffour of Ghana, Patrick Mboma of Cameroon, Senegal's El-Hadji Diouf, Nigeria's Emmanuel Amuneke and the entire Zambian side of 1993.


BBC World Service broadcasts more then 25 hours of programmes a week specifically for Africa.


For sports fans, Fast Track offers unrivalled news and features on African sport.


BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages and is available on radio and online.


It has a global audience of 146 million listeners.


It is available globally on short wave; on FM in 140 capital cities; and selected programmes are carried on around 2,000 FM and MW radio stations around the world.


Its websites receive around 280 million page impressions every month.



Category: World Service

Date: 11.04.2005
Printable version


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