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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 February, 2004, 14:26 GMT
Okocha accepts BBC award
Jay Jay Okocha recives the award from Stephen Keshi
Jay-Jay Okocha receives the award from Stephen Keshi
Nigeria captain Austin 'Jay-Jay' Okocha has been presented with the 2003 BBC African Footballer of the Year award in Tunis.

A silver trophy was handed to the Bolton star by his former team-mate and coach Stephen Keshi who is part of the BBC television coverage team at the Cup of Nations.

The skipper said he was proud to be the recipient of the honour.

"I am delighted to receive this prestigious BBC award and it has inspired me to do more," Okocha said.

"I want to thank those who voted for me on the BBC website. I think I have worked hard to be on the top and I'm going to continue working harder."

Okocha won the title after capturing more than 20,000 votes, beating Cameroon's Samuel Eto'o and Stephen Appiah of Ghana, into second and third place respectively.

Keshi said the Bolton skipper was deserving of the accolade.

"It was a good decision taken by the readers of the BBC African football website to vote Okocha as the continent's best player," said Keshi.

"I am not saying this because he is a felllow Nigerian and good friend but because he knows how to play football, he's disciplined and a team leader.

"Jay Jay is a phenomenon, I played with him at national level and also coached him, I know what he is capable of doing with the ball and I think he has achieved a lot."

Okocha is also one of three shortlisted for the 2003 Caf Player of the Year. The winner will be annouced in Yaounde on 30 April.

Previous winners of the BBC award are Ghana's Samuel Kuffour in 2001 and El Hadji Diouf of Senegal in 2002.

Jay-Jay Okocha
"This is very special for me"

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