He is literally the symbol of entertainment football! He didn’t play particularly for fame or money, he truly enjoyed the beautiful game and used it as his route to fame and fortune inadvertently. He played football in his heydays with admirable passion. You could see he was not struggling to play, he enjoyed his game. He caressed football with all parts of his body. He played for Nigeria and some clubs in Europe and left indelible marks on his trail. His trademark smile on the pitch whether he missed a penalty or a free kick spoke of his genuine spirit of sportsmanship! He loved the game too much not to enjoy any moment, win or lose!
From Enugu to Turkey, Germany to England and to global mundial like the Olympics and World Cup tournaments, his art impressed a world that appreciates artistry and good-naturedness. He is loved globally for the beauty of his art. He had and still has a profoundly admirable stage presence on or off the pitch. He is a great patriot whose love of country has inspired many young ones. He continues to be relevant as an ambassador of the game in global terms. It takes beyond pitch performance and football laurels from the game to be so phenomenally loved. Today, Jay Jay continues to be relevant even as one who has retired from the game. He neither won the African Footballer of The Year (surprisingly) nor the Ballon d’Or but no prize outshines his global presence, acceptance and admiration!
I still remember how my 3-year-old daughter used to be enamoured with him every time he was on the pitch each time he was fouled she started crying while shouting ‘Akacha Akacha’ inconsolably. That was how impactful he was as a player even to toddlers! Football commentators were literally obsessed with his artistry and created a powerful persona the world admires through the media. His appeal goes beyond the game, he is one global superstar that never wears his stardom on his sleeve. He comes off as very grounded and regular with mass appeal. These sterling qualities have made him a global brand not just on the pitch but with product branding and personality endorsements.
As he turns 50, the cymbals are out from FIFA, CAF, NFF (when will he head that body?) and continental leagues across the world! The superlatives are rolling in and Nigeria must be proud of this great gift to the world! Football has no tribe or creed! We are proud of the pizzazz he brought to the beautiful game of football!
Happy 50th birthday Jay Jay! You were truly too good they named you TWICE!
The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are gotten from the public domain.