Austin Okocha who looked back at his memorable career which got him nicknamed Jay Jay, has disclosed that Bundesliga gave him the platform to excel.
The Nigerian football legend who landed in Germany as a 17-year-old in 1990 and penned a deal with Third Division side Borussia Neunkirchen, before making an eye-catching move to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga two years later, went on to dazzle the German topflight with his exquisite dribbling skills, which caught the eye of Nigerians back home and invariably earned him his Nigeria debut in 1993, a 2-1 defeat to Ivory Coast in Abidjan in the 1994 World Cup qualifiers.
Recounting how Bundesliga made him, Okocha said;
“The Bundesliga is the league that made me, changed my life. And that was even when our people (Nigerians) didn’t know much about it,” Okocha said at a press conference for the Bundesliga Legend Tour in Lagos on Thursday.
“I got to Germany at 17 and I was given the opportunity to excel. It’s difficult to find that happening in any other place. In England, you have to play 75 per cent of your country’s games before you are considered.
“In the Bundesliga, they give you everything to express yourself. I always use myself as an example; in the beginning, I never wanted to pass the ball, but they made me strike the right balance and used my talent to the advantage of the team.
“I can proudly say that I had no scandal throughout my career, no serious injury worries because of what I was taught: how to live off the pitch. It was very important. If I have the opportunity, I will ask every kid to start their careers in Germany. The structure they have is comparable to none.”