Former African Footballer of the Year Samuel Eto’o has said Nigerian legend Austin Okocha was as talented and magical as Brazilian great Ronaldinho Gaucho but he didn’t get the deserved applaud.
But Eto’o is displeased that the ex-Super Eagles captain did not receive as many accolades during his career as his former Barcelona teammate.
Often regarded as one of the most gifted number 10s the football world has ever seen, Okocha enjoyed a successful career spanning almost two decades. Okocha won the Africa Cup of Nations in 1994 with the Super Eagles, and he was also instrumental as Nigeria won Africa’s first Olympic gold at Atlanta ’96.
In 2004, the former Bolton Wanderers skipper made Pele’s list of 125 living legends of the aport, one of only four African players — alongside Abedi Pele, George Weah, and Roger Milla — to make the cut.
While the other three Africans on that list are recipients of the CAF African Footballer of the Year award, Okocha never clinched the continent’s finest individual prize, coming close on several occasions.
Okocha even mentored Ronaldinho when the Brazilian was finding his feet in European football at French side PSG.
But while Ronaldinho went on to win two FIFA World Player of the Year awards and a Ballon d’Or, Okocha never came close to claiming any of those global honours before calling time on his career in 2008