Speaking in Abuja at his birthday party with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Super Eagles legend, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha says playing for Nigeria will never make any footballer rich, and advised Nigeria footballers to play for the country as a means to an end.
The self acclaimed football magician who responded to questions about national team players being owed match bonuses and coaches salaries, said;
“Honestly speaking, as it is, you can’t make it rich by playing for Nigeria. But you can get exposure, you can touch lives and for me that’s beyond match bonuses. I’ll say yes. For me, it goes beyond football; it goes beyond football administration; it goes beyond bonuses.
“Like I said earlier, I cherished that day I left Nigeria to go and play abroad in the profession. If you focus on the good things that we got playing for our country, I think that will encourage us.
“That was my motivation. That was what kept me going. Even though you have to get what you deserved, it’s a pity that in the 21st century we are still lagging behind in terms of organisation.
“I think we should really look at ourselves and try to do things better because we know that we can do it. We know that it’s the easiest thing for us to do — to make sure that our players are happy, so that they are able to do things right, so that we can get the best out of them, and to also give them the opportunity they deserve,” he said.
According to TheCable News, the 1996 Olympic gold medallist expressed belief that the Dream Team VI would beat Germany on Wednesday, in the semi-final of the male football event of the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The playmaker who charged the team to work as a team while using their individual abilities to achieve what the nation did 20 ago, said; “Well, I think its simple. They have to believe in themselves and realise that they have only one chance to take back the Olympic gold.
“I manage to grab that moment of the terrible experience I had in 1994 where we got kicked out at the world cup. That was what motivated us to win that Gold medal because we realised that we got only one chance in life and we grabbed it and made it count.
“For me, I just have to encourage them as a leader that they can do it. It’s all about getting it right and the sky will be their limit.
“Germany, I think we know them to be strong as a group because they hardly produce individual great players, which is what I think we have.
“If we can match them as a team, I have no doubt that with our individual quality and physical strength, we can win against them,” Okocha said.