I didn’t know I was black until I moved to Europe – Jay Jay Okocha

2 min read
I didn't know I was black until I moved to Europe - Jay Jay Okocha

Nigerian football legend, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, began his professional career in Germany, first playing for Borussia Neunkirchen before making a move to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Recently, International Sports brought attention to a video featuring Okocha, where he discusses his experiences of living in a racially charged environment during his time in Germany. In the video, Okocha shares how he responded to racism by showcasing his exceptional dribbling skills on the football pitch.

Okocha, known for his dazzling performances, initially made his mark in European football in Germany. He started with Borussia Neunkirchen before joining Eintracht Frankfurt, where he made 90 appearances and scored 18 goals.

Reflecting on his time in Germany, Okocha revealed in an interview on the Teju Baby Face show, as reported by A2Z Football, that he wasn’t fully aware of his race until he arrived in Germany. The prevalence of racism in the country became evident to him during his stay.

In response to the discrimination he faced, Okocha decided to combat it in a unique and legal manner. He chose to out-dribble German players on the football field as a way to assert his worth and talent. Recounting his strategy, Okocha humorously remarked, “This is a true story. When I first moved to Europe, it was Germany that I went to, and the rate of racism was still high. I never knew I was black until I got to Germany. And when I got the opportunity to sign a deal, and I was like, ‘how do I pay these people back’ ‘what do I do that is legal to show that I am also a racist.’ So I figured out that the only way is to keep dribbling. So I started dribbling them. And I said I will dribble them so much that some people will chop grass,” conveying his determination to challenge stereotypes through his remarkable skills.

Okocha’s story sheds light on the struggles faced by black athletes in predominantly white environments and highlights the creative ways individuals like him navigate and overcome such challenges. His approach to combating racism serves as an inspiration and a reminder of the power of resilience and talent in the face of adversity.

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As Okocha’s journey in football continues to inspire generations, his experiences in Germany stand as a testament to his strength of character and his unwavering commitment to the sport.

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