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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Is Okocha the best African ever?
Nigeria's Jay-Okocha receives the 2004 African Footballer of the Year award from Sam Allardyce
Is Nigeria's Jay-Jay Okocha the best ever African player?

Got an opinion? Express it here!

Each week we throw up a different subject to let followers of African sport have their say.

This week, we want to know if you think Jay-Jay Okocha is the greatest footballer to ever come out of Africa?

On Saturday, the Nigerian picked up the BBC African Footballer of the Year award for the second year running, the first player to claim the trophy twice.

The midfield star was presented with the trophy ahead of his club Bolton's 3-1 win over Fulham in the English Premiership.

So is Okocha the best or do you think that legends of the past such as Liberia's George Weah, Ghana's Abedi Pele or even Cameroon's Roger Milla are better?

Or is there someone else that you consider the best ever?

How do the current crop of stars like Samuel Eto'o Fils of Cameroon, the Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba or the Black Stars' Michael Essien compare with the Super Eagles captain?

Use the form on the right to tell us what you think.


Okocha is the most skillful player to come out of Africa. A line has to be drawn between the most skillful player and the best player. The most skillful player may not be the best player, while the best player may not be the most skillful. However, on the grounds of consistency over a period of 12 years, Okocha surely qualifies as one of the great legends of the African game.
Muyiwa, Nigeria

Candidly, there can't have been two persons so talented and so developed. Nigeria's Etim Esin (who played for Nigeria's Under-20 side at the 1987 World Youth Championships) was one such talented player, but he allowed indiscipline to rob him of the exposure that his talent deserved on the global stage. Okocha is super-talented on and off the field. He is undoubtedly my best ever African footballer. God bless Africa.
Michael Adande, Nigeria

I think that Jay Jay Okocha is the best to come out of Africa by a mile. It is really a shame that Caf thinks differently.
Ibe Ejikeme, Nigeria

Why is the BBC struggling to promote a player of the year award which is inferior to Caf's?
Osric, Cameroon

I dont think this is a debate that is called for. Why is the BBC struggling to promote a player of the year award which is inferior to Caf's? How Okocha won it ahead of Eto'o or Drogba is questionable, as population wise, Nigeria is second to none in Africa, which implies they had more votes. While I agree that Okocha is a good player, his talent cannot be compared to that of Roger Milla, George Weah or Abedi Pele not to mention Eto'o, Drogba or Obafemi Martins. This notwithstanding, Okocha and other African footballers are making us proud.
Osric, Cameroon

I just have to say something about the BBC award won twice by Okocha. It is a very important thing in his career. He is the best player Africa has ever had. But Caf just do not want to give him what he deserves. He was the best African player at the 1998 World Cup and yet the award that year was given to Morocco's Mustapha Hadji. Maybe he will win it when the president of Caf is no longer in office.
Obialije Obiora, Nigerian in Dakar, Senegal

No doubt, Okocha is a great player. His mastery and control of the game, his level headedness and his leadership qualities speak well for him. However, considering him as the best player ever from Africa will be tantamount to giving him a cap too big for his head. Come to think of it, I can't remember once when George Weah put club above country but Okocha has done so twice or more and that caused Nigeria vital World Cup points. He is great but not the best.
Emmanuel Dan, Nigerian in the USA

Okocha, without argument, is the best so far. It is like comparing Pope John Paul II to past Popes
Ojevwe Victor, Nigerian in the USA

Okocha is one of the greatest and his skills are still improving. But he is not the best Africa has ever produced. Although comparison with the legends of the past is not always easy, I would submit Okocha has yet to reproduce the form of Roger Milla.
Juniorax, Norway

This question is a non-starter. Even among current African players, most of whom are average, Okocha still fails to win the African Footballer of the Year. Okocha is not the best to come out of Nigeria, not to talk of Africa. Players like Thomas Nkono, Roger Milla, Lakhdar Belloumi, Abedi Pele and George Weah are better. In Nigeria, players like Stephen Keshi, Segun Odegbami, Rashidi Yekini, Etim Esin and Henry Nwosu were as good or even better in their prime, especially Keshi and Odegbami. Okocha is now an old man in the twilight of his career. Even at his best, he was not better than the aforementioned players.
Femi, Nigeria

I have always thought that Okocha is one of the greatest players in the world. He has performed on all stages and has great humour and charisma. He remains the most consistent African player of our times.
Joseph Makolwal, Germany

Jay Jay is a legendary player no doubt but there are other soccer legends in Africa.He is as legendary as those legends were and still are.
Chigozie Okonkwo, Nigerian in Sweden

Absolutely. There is no doubt in my mind he is the best player to ever come out Africa. Even Pele thinks so. The only wonder is why he has never been crowned an African Footballer of the Year yet. But hey, politics can explain that.
Bola A, USA

Pure class, great football brain, amazing skill and outstanding work rate. Without doubt, the best African footballer ever.
Stephen Minihane, UK

There might be other good football kings in the past but Okocha, without argument, is the best so far. It is like comparing Pope John Paul II to past Popes.
Ojevwe Victor, Nigerian in the USA

Why ask such a question when there are maestros like Abedi Pele, George Weah, Roger Milla and Tony Yeboah? The answer to this question is so simple: No.
Cephas Laryea, USA

Okocha is arguably the best player to ever come out of Africa. Not so often does Africa produce a player who controls and sets the tone of a game. Scoring goals is one thing but scoring and creating chances for others puts you in a different dimension.
Bernard Akpan, Nigerian in the USA

In terms of pure skill, Okocha takes the cake. But when we want to talk about the best, we have to measure the value a player has to his team. Nigeria can win without Okocha, he is not indispensable. George Weah was a player that nearly carried Liberia on his back to a World Cup appearance. Draw your own conclusions.
Anthony Okafo, USA

Pure class, great football brain, amazing skill and outstanding work rate. Without doubt, the best African footballer ever
Stephen Minihane, UK

Okocha is the best African footballer ever. He has appeared in three World Cup finals is going for a record fourth.When you take a look at his achievements at Bolton, I think he is the best in Africa.
Martins Iyamu, Nigeria

Okocha is the African footballer to have given his all during an African Cup of Nations tournament. But George Weah of Liberia is the best.
Blessing Akiri Young, USA

In as much as I respect Jay-Jay as a footballer, I doubt if he is the best player to come out of Nigeria, let alone out of Africa. For heavens sake, what has the man achieved really? Why are bigger teams not seriously chasing after his signature? I think the man is highly overrated. There are the likes of Abedi Pele, George Weah, Roger Milla and Kalusha Bwalya to choose from.
Sello More, South Africa

Jay-Jay is the best footballer to come out of Africa. With respect to Weah and his accomplishments, Okocha is the only remaining player from Nigeria's 1994 World Cup who is still playing at a very high level. He has been terrific as the Nigeria and Bolton Wanderers captain and I know he still has a lot to give. Jay-Jay is "THE MAN."
Conrad Nzeribe, USA

I can't imagine you will even ask this question. Jay-Jay is no way near that. George Weah and Abedi Pele were not only outstanding individuals, they also performed at the higest level. Tony Yeboah was a class act in goalscoring and even Nwankwo Kanu has been phenomenal. Okocha has done well but asking if he is the best ever is flattering him.
Yaw Asante, Ghana

I think George Weah has won a lot more laurels and achieved much more than Okocha probably ever will in club football. However, Okocha is probably half a head above even the great Abedi Pele. I am a Nigerian but without being prejudiced, Okocha is just a bag full of talent, and he has shown this for years. In terms of achievements he is no slacker either - he has played in three World Cups and will probably feature in a fourth. He has also won African Cup of Nations and Olympic gold, and has medals to show for all his Cup of Nations appearances over a 12-year career with Super Eagles. This is no mean feat.
Olatunde Oladimeji, Canada



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SEE ALSO
Okocha receives BBC award
10 Apr 05 |  African
Okocha retains BBC's Africa award
07 Jan 05 |  Football
Okocha wins BBC award
07 Jan 05 |  African


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