Former England international, Rio Ferdinand, has described ex-Super Eagles sensation, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, as a magician on the soccer pitch.
Both Ferdinand and Okocha are renowned professional footballers who have since hanged their boots.
But, it was close to amusing to know that years down the line the former Manchester United player reckoned and described the former Paris Saint-Germain F.C. Midfielder, as a magician footballer.
Speaking with Nigerian journalists over the weekend, Ferdinand who was on a visit for the second time to Nigeria could not hide his admiration, amuse and respect for the Nigerian international who also played in two English Premier top clubs; first at Bolton and then Hull City.
The now football pundit said Okocha is an un-disputable on-field player that brought glamour to football.
It was revealing when Ferdinand told sports journalists that he and his teammates most of the time use to study a recorded tape of Okocha because of his mystic style of play.
“Okocha was exceptional and he stood out,” the former Manchester United defender said.
He continued, “Back then when he was at PSG, myself and friends used to go to the extreme to buy tapes featuring him and we sat back to enjoy his displays which to us were awesome.
“And when he came to the Premier League, first at Bolton and then Hull City, I enjoyed him more on close quarters. He was simply peerless as he was far ahead of his time. I think Nigeria is blessed to have such a wonderful ball player
who was in perfect understanding of the entertainment aspect of football. Without any doubt, he was a magician.
“Didier was quick, so quick. He could be on the pitch for a whole 90 minutes and sometimes looked harmless. But he wouldn’t fail to latch unto to even the slightest of opportunities to score his goals. He was such a handful all the times he played against me.”
Ferdinand also spoke on Kanu Nwankwo, Emmanuel Adebayo and Samuel Et’o describing them as great African players he holds in high esteem.
Asked what attracted him to Nigerians as he signed the Guinness partnership, the Peckham-born Ferdinand said: “Nigerians are a special breed of people who are bold with strong character and passion for whatever they do. They also have inherent determination to succeed against different odds.”
According to him, Nigerian cuisine has made his visit memorable.
“I love the food and I find especially the jollof rice most interesting and I think I would eat it any day now,” he remarked.