The following is an extract from Ian Hawkey’s article from Issue Nine of the Blizzard, published in June 2013. The Blizzard is a quarterly football journal available from www.theblizzard.co.uk on a pay-what-you-like basis in print and digital formats.
Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, is 33rd on the list of top 100 best foreign players to feature in the English Premier League, according to the ranking by the celebrated football magazine, FourFourTwo.
Seven years ago the South African Football Association announced the names of the four players it had chosen as ambassadors for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. Joining George Weah, Abedi Pele and Roger Milla in the esteemed quartet was Mustapha Hadji, the former Morocco playmaker and the scorer of one of the most memorable goals of the tournament at France 1998.
It's January 2004 and Bolton Wanderers are playing Aston Villa in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi-final. In the 80th minute, Bolton are awarded a free-kick about 20-yards from Villa’s goal outside the top right corner of the box. Aston Villa, down 4-2 in the game, set a two-man wall while Bolton deploy three runners to the left of the penalty spot with five Villa defenders forming a line even with the wall. The whistle blows and up steps Bolton’s Nigerian catalyst, Jay-Jay Okocha. Everyone freezes.
Nicknamed 'Mathematical' for his exquisite skills, pace and accuracy in front of goal, Nigeria's Segun Odegbami is one of Africa's all-time greats.
Rabah Madjer became one of the best forwards in world football during the 1980s, earning fame and honours with FC Porto while helping Algeria become one of the top sides in Africa.
Africa 2-1 Europe (January 2nd, 1997).
(Abedi Pele and Mustapha Hadji scored for Africa and Vincent Guerin scored for Europe).
World Cup star Roger Milla was the most celebrated Camerounian player of the victorious 1984 and 1988 sides, while the back-to-back title winners of 2000 and 2002 were led by Samuel Eto'o, a four-time winner of the African footballer of the year award.