My Dream Team

Kick Off - - Inside -

Nige­rian su­per­star Jay-Jay Okocha shares with us his star-stud­ded dream team of world-renowned foot­ballers he was priv­i­leged to share the pitch with.

Jay-Jay Okocha – so good they named him twice! The African leg­end went to Ger­many as a 17-year-old with­out a club, but im­pressed dur­ing a trial at third di­vi­sion side Borus­sia Ne­unkirchen. Two years later he joined Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt, where he be­came fa­mous for his trick­ery and cre­ative flair. Okocha, who was part of Nige­ria’s team that won the 1996 Olympics, also played for the likes of Fener­bahce, Paris Saint-Ger­main, Bolton Wan­der­ers, Qatar SC and Hull City. Here the for­mer Su­per Ea­gles star, who now works as an am­bas­sador for the Bun­desliga, picks a hugely im­pres­sive Dream Team of the best play­ers he ever played with. 1 Goal­keeper: Uli Stein

Uli was not just a good goal­keeper, but a very strong per­son­al­ity. He was quite old al­ready when I met him, but he left a very good im­pres­sion be­cause he had a great char­ac­ter and was also look­ing af­ter the young guys in our Ein­tra­cht Frank­furt team. He was a big role model for me.

2 Right-back: Taribo West

I played with him for Nige­ria. He was the kind of player who al­ways gave 200%. He al­ways had this at­ti­tude of be­ing the best at any time, and that’s why he has to be in my team.

3 Left-back: Celestine Baba­yaro

Celestine had a spe­cial tal­ent. He al­ready had his break­through at An­der­lecht and Chelsea at a very young age, which I al­ways ad­mired. He had a nat­u­ral-born tal­ent to de­fend, but he also scored many goals. He had this spe­cial drive of go­ing for­ward, which im­pressed me a lot in our time to­gether in the na­tional team.

4 Cen­tre-back: Uche Okechukwu

Uche was a very strong de­fender, but good with the ball as well.

His po­si­tional play was al­ways ex­cel­lent. I think he stayed too long in Turkey and never reached his per­sonal best. In a way it was good be­cause it al­lowed me to play with him at Fener­bahce and the na­tional team, but I think he was not am­bi­tious enough. He could have gone even fur­ther with his great tal­ent as a de­fender.

5 Cen­tre-back: Man­fred Binz

“Manni” – as they called him in Ger­many – was a true leader and role model when I came to Frank­furt. He ate, slept and lived foot­ball. He com­pletely ded­i­cated his life to the game, even mea­sur­ing the amount of wa­ter he drank ev­ery day and he had a spe­cial diet plan as well. I learned a lot from him with re­gards to the dis­ci­pline you need at a pro­fes­sional level.

6 De­fen­sive mid­field: Sun­day Oliseh

Sun­day was a very solid and phys­i­cally strong player. Be­cause of him I had the free­dom to at­tack in the Nige­rian team. He took care of at least two play­ers so that I could move wide and show my bril­liant moves with­out get­ting wor­ried about de­fend­ing.

7 Right-mid­field: Jay-JJayJ OkOkochah

I have to put my­self in the team be­cause Jay-Jay is the best player that all the oth­ers in the team have ever played with (laughs).

8 Left-mid­field: Ronald­inho

There is not much to say about him … we all know he was a ge­nius on the ball. He is one of the best play­ers that ever played foot­ball. It was a priv­i­lege to play with the young Ronald­inho at PSG, some­thing which still makes me feel very hum­ble.

9 For­ward: An­thony Ye­boah

He was a very, very strong striker I played with at Frank­furt, who was good on the ball, good in the air and one of the most com­plete strik­ers I have ever seen. He had all the at­tributes which you would ex­pect from a striker. Ask any de­fender, they had night­mares of An­thony and could never rest dur­ing a game against him.

10 At­tack­ing mid­field: Uwe Bein

Uwe had the best left foot I have ever seen. He had such good vi­sion and a great un­der­stand­ing of the game. He made ev­ery player bet­ter, as­sist­ing us on and off the pitch, and he had a very self­less char­ac­ter. He was an­other great role model for me at Frank­furt.

11 For­ward: Rashidi Yekini

Rashidi is still the high­est goalscorer Nige­ria ever had. He was an­other great striker, with a very strong shot and was a very clin­i­cal fin­isher.

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