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 Post subject: I will play: OKOCHA
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:43 pm 
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Okocha vows to play

By Osasu Obayiuwana
BBC Sport



Okocha says the problems have been exaggerated

Nigeria captain Austin 'Jay-Jay' Okocha has insisted that his personal problems will not stop him from leading his country at the Nations Cup finals in Tunisia.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC Sport website, the Bolton Wanderers midfielder said he is determined to lead the Super Eagles.

The 30-year-old confirmed that he has funds trapped in a Nigerian bank that is in dire straits but said the matter was not as bad as had been reported by the media.

"It is true that some of my money is trapped in a bank in Nigeria," Okocha said on Wednesday.

I am in good spirits and am determined to do my best

Jay-Jay Okocha

"But the situation is not as bad as it has been made out to be. People are trying to exaggerate the seriousness of the situation.

"In any case, no one but myself knows the true position of things because I have not made any statement about the amount of money I have deposited in the bank.

"I am in the process of trying to take care of the situation but it will not stop me from playing for Nigeria at the Nations Cup," Okocha said.

"I am in good spirits and am determined to do my best."

Okocha is yet to travel to the Portuguese town of Faro, where the Super Eagles are training for the Nations Cup.

Nigerian officials in Faro told BBC Sport that Okocha was expected in camp on 11 January but they are yet to receive firm word on when he will join his colleagues.

Recently named the 2003 BBC African Footballer of the Year, Okocha said he is looking forward to receiving the silver trophy that will be presented to him in a ceremony that will take place during the tournament.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:46 pm 
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as expected, he allays the fears. Chei, Vanguard fit talk tori o! See as the added pepper and sugar to the whole dilemma

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2004 12:28 am 
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Soccernet quoted him as saying he would rather stay in Bolton!!!

LAGOS, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Skipper Jay Jay Okocha was named on Wednesday in Nigeria's squad for the African Nations Cup after allaying fears that he could miss the finals in Tunisia.

The midfielder is worried that money he deposited in a Nigerian bank could be lost after the bank hit trouble last year.

Okocha told Bolton Wanderers' website: 'Honestly, I am troubled... I have almost all my money in a bank in Nigeria. Now the bank has a problem and I'm in real trouble. I really don't know what to do.'

Okocha had said he would prefer to remain with Bolton during the African tournament, starting on January 24.

'This money issue is now my big problem with Nigeria, so I want to continue to play for Bolton and earn money to take care of my family,' Okocha told Brila FM, a Lagos-based sports radio station.

But Nigerian FA secretary-general Taiwo Ogunjobi said on Wednesday by telephone from Abuja: 'Okocha has given us his assurance he will be going to Tunisia and we'll work towards that.'

The midfielder was later named in the 22-man squad for the tournament where Nigeria are in Group D with fellow ex-winners South Africa and Morocco, plus debutants Benin.

Okocha was one of seven English-based players named in the squad, along with Arsenal striker Nwankwo Kanu.

Germany-based striker Victor Agali, who stopped playing for his country after the 2002 Nations Cup in Mali, is included in the squad, which has only two home-based players.

'I believe it's a strong squad capable of winning the trophy,' Ogunjobi said.

He added that overseas-based players who had not joined the squad at their warm-up base in the Portuguese resort of Faro would have no problems fitting in.

Nigeria, Nations Cup winners in 1980 and 1994, have their opening match against Morocco on January 27 in Monastir.

Your views on this story? Email newsdesk@soccernet


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