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Oliseh: How Taribo nearly beat Okocha for excessive dribbling

Oliseh: How Taribo nearly beat Okocha for excessive dribbling
June 20
19:02 2022

Sunday Oliseh, former Super Eagles captain, has revealed that some of his colleagues were unhappy with Jay-Jay Okocha’s excessive dribbling during their time with the senior national team.

Oliseh spoke in a recent chat with the Special Delivery podcast hosted by Emmanuel Babayaro, ex-Eagles goalkeeper, and Matthew Edafe.

The 47-year-old former Eagles coach and midfielder played alongside Okocha for nine years across different age-grade teams of the Nigerian national set-up.

They were part of the Nigerian U-23 team that won gold medal in the football event at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics. They were also members of the Eagles side that won the 1994 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Tunisia.

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Okocha was known for his flair and dribbling prowess. He is also touted as Nigeria’s most skillful footballer.

But during the chat, Oliseh said most of Okocha’s Eagles teammates were constantly frustrated by his dribbling and the effect it had on the team

He also narrated how Taribo West, former Eagles defender, went berserk on Okocha for costing the team with his style of play.

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The former Fortuna Sittard manager said he had to hold Taribo before reaching the one-time BBC African Footballer Of The Year.

“With Jay Jay, most people would say he was a difficult player to play with, as teammates, as defensive players. But I personally had a way, an understanding with Jay Jay that made it easy for me to play with him,” Oliseh said.

“There was one particular game. I’ll share a story with you. We were playing, and Jay Jay was doing his normal thing, and Nigerian fans were going crazy. In our team, as much as we disagreed, every player was a king in their position. We had match winners – most of the players could win games, but if someone did something bad in the group, the defenders always tell me, ‘Sunday tell am o.’

“They knew I was the only one who could say to Jay Jay that ‘my man, release the ball and Jay Jay would release. There was one particular game, he was doing it, and we lost the ball. And the ball was coming, and Taribo was going crazy about him.

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“And he lost the ball one more time, and I told him, ‘hey, my man, I’m tired of running. And the next time, he went on dribbling and lost the ball. I left the man. I let the opponent pass, and they almost scored. Taribo went crazy, he crossed ahead of me, and I had to grab him. Don’t joke with Taribo. He wants to win. He’s fanatical about winning.”

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