Augustine Azuka Okocha, fondly known as Jay-Jay Okocha was born on August 14, 1973 in Enugu, Nigeria. He started playing football in Nigerian streets and joined Enugu Rangers in 1990. The attacking midfielder has played for several top clubs including Fernabahce, Eintracht Frankfurt, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton Wanderers, and Hull City FC. He has inspired many footballers like Ifunanyanchi Achara. Read on to learn more about how Okocha sparked the Toronto FC.
Jay-Jay Okocha Shapes Achara’s Professional Football Career
Ifunanyanchi Achara was born on September 28, 1997, in Enugu, Nigeria. Jay-Jay Okocha spotted him in southeast Nigeria and recommended him to the Nigerian U17 National Team coach. Unfortunately, the coach didn’t add Achara in the squad that won the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup. Yet, Achara was amongst the top contenders for Nigeria’s roster against Chile. He watched the U17 World Cup at home cheering some of his teammates such as Orji Okwonkwo, Victor Osimhen, and Samuel Chukwueze.
Nigeria shocked many people when it won the 2015 FIFA U17 World Cup. It defeated Mexico and Brazil amongst other top contenders. Achara revealed in a past interview that at times, he got disheartened seeing some of his friends joining European clubs. He was inspired to join foreign teams when the Nigerian squad won the U17 World Cup. Achara got a scholarship to join Berkshire School through a program that linked talented soccer players with American prep schools.
Achara later moved to the United States and registered at Berkshire High School, Massachusetts. The school named him as part of the High School All-American game Best XI. Then, Achara was in the track and soccer teams with Jacob Shaffelburg. He later attended Georgetown University where he played for the Hoyas for four seasons. Achara scored six goals in eight appearances for GPS Portland Phoenix in 2016.
He joined Black Rock FC in 2018 and represented the USL League Two club until 2019. Ifunanyanchi captained Black Rock for two seasons. He was the team’s top goalscorer in 2018 after scoring eight goals. The midfielder helped Black Rock FC win the PDL Northeast Division title and was added to the PDL Eastern All-Star Team in 2018. Soccer fans can read Golisports soccer news to get the latest team schedule and roster for Black Rock FC.
Toronto FC selected Achara in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft as the 25th player. He had an impressive pre-season with the club and it signed him on February 21 2020 as a first-team player.
The Nigerian forward played his first game for Toronto FC on March 7, 2020. He was the man of the match after scoring an opener in the 11th minute. But, the football officials ruled it offside in a Virtual Assistant Referee decision. Achara didn’t give up as he scored another goal in the 81st minute that helped his team defeat New York City FC 1-0.
Jay-Jay Okocha is one of the football legends in Africa. He started his career in Nigeria and later moved to Germany. The midfielder is renowned for his spectacular dribbling skills. He played a key role in developing football in Nigeria. Ifunanyanchi Achara is one of the skilled footballers who emulate Okocha. He has a successful career at Toronto FC.