Okocha says his football career was built more on his love and passion for the game than for money.
The former Super Eagles attacker is regarded as one of the most skillful players to ever emerge from the continent. His pace and trickery earned him a lot of admirers across the world, with many comparing him in his playing days with Argentine legend Diego Maradona.
Okocha’s glittering career spanned over a decade with stints in Germany, Turkey, France and England before he eventually retired. He played for Eintratch Frankfurt, Fernabache, Paris Saint German and Bolton Wanderers among other European clubs.
Okocha is in Ghana for a Bundesliga legends tour being sponsored by pay-TV operators StarTimes to help increase viewership of the German league. And speaking at a press conference organized as part of a series of programmes by StarTimes, the former Nigeria international said although football players are now more concerned about how much they earn, his own playing career was never driven by money, but by his love and passion for the game.
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“When I was playing the money was not that much like now. But honestly if you have seen any of my play, you will understand that I had passion for the game. I had love for the game,” Okocha said.
“I started by playing for the pride of the game – for the love of the game. And of course, later on the money started coming in, which was a bonus to me. You can imagine doing what you love to do and getting paid while doing it as well. And so the money was like extra bonus for me.”
“And I must say – not just to the youth that want to become footballers – that whatever you want to become in life, I believe that once you put in effort, once you put in a good job; the money will come.”
Okocha was brought to Ghana by pay-TV operators StarTimes as a Bundesliga ambassador and is partaking in a legends tour around the country, with the aim of promoting the German league.