Sports News of Sunday, 17 November 2019
Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha is not a man shy of speaking his mind.
In his 18-year professional career, he always proved to be a smart, witty and candid player, in addition to his mind-bending skill.
The Nigerian legend has also had memorable clashes with Ghana in his time, and as the AFCON qualifiers for 2021 roll on, he weighed in on what memories the Black Stars evoke.
When asked what comes to mind when he thinks of Ghanaian football, he went straight for the jugular.
“Flair,” he began, and then: “Underachievers. Let me put it that way because I know that Ghanaians are so talented, and always produce great players,” he told Joy Sports in an interview during the StarTimes Media Tour in Germany recently.
He went on: “But they always have issues with coming together as a team. I don’t know whether it is ego problems or whatever. But the big players seem to fight each other, and that is why it seems like they are underachievers.”
Okocha referenced the most recent self-implosion from the Black Stars to back his views.
“And from what we see from the outside, it is like they never have a good team spirit. Remember what we saw during the last AFCON with the Baby Jet, Asamoah Gyan; and [Andre] Ayew and the manager. It’s always one issue or the other that limits them from achieving what they have to achieve.”
Kwesi Appiah is currently leading the latest crop of Ghanaian players to attempt to win the AFCON for the first time since 1982. Considering that when the Black Stars won its fourth trophy in Libya, the nation of Nigeria had won just a single title, it’s hard to blame Okocha for calling Ghana an underachieving nation.
The 46-year-old is an ambassador for the Bundesliga, and also a member of the Technical Committee of the Nigeria Football Federation.
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