‘He influenced me without even talking about it’ – Alex Iwobi on how Okocha convinced him to play for Nigeria

The legendary Super Eagles player Jay-Jay Okocha was instrumental in persuading his nephew, a star in the Premier League, to play for Nigeria rather than England.

In 2015, Iwobi made his senior international debut for Nigeria after choosing to play for England in the Under-16, Under-17, and Under-18 levels.

The midfielder disclosed that his uncle Okocha had an impact on his choice to play for Nigeria rather than England.

Okocha’s influence on Iwobi’s decision

Okocha, known for his incredible flair played an important role in Iwobi choosing to play for the Super Eagles instead of the Three Lions.

Jay Jay Okocha playing for Super Eagles -- Imago

Iwobi claims that after seeing Okocha’s fame, a trip to Lagos, the city of his birth, convinced him to play for Nigeria.

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Jay Jay Okocha and his cousine Alex Iwobi -- Sportkeeda

Speaking to Arsenal TV in 2018, as reported by Daily Mail, Iwobi said, “I went over there to see what it’s like and the way they described my uncle. Wow, he’s a legend.

Jay Jay Okocha -- Imago

“Even when we were just walking around with him and in the car, the acknowledgement he gets from everyone… I thought, ‘Wow, maybe one day I would like to feel like that as well’. He influenced me without even talking to me about it.”

Okocha participated in the 1994 Africa Cup of Nations winning team for Nigeria and helped the country win a gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics.

Alex Iwobi playing for Nigeria -- Imago

His influence made a big impact on Iwobi who later went on to make 78 appearances for Nigeria and scored ten International goals.

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The 28-year-old, midfielder, was part of Nigeria’s 2023 Africa Cup of Nations team that finished second to Ivory Coast.

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