Not too many African players have had the privilege of scoring milestone goals in the history of the Africa Cup of Nations (the biggest football competition on the African continent). Without a doubt, Nigeria’s Austin Jay Jay Okocha is one of the greatest to have played the round leather game at the global and African stage, and it is only suiting for him to have hit remarkable heights in his career.
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During the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations in Tunisia, the Super Eagles of Nigeria were drawn in Group D alongside Morocco, South Africa, and Benin Republic. The Nigerian side was touted as one of the favourites to top the Group, but a 1-0 loss to Morocco in their first game at the tournament meant the West Africans needed nothing but a win in their second game against South Africa to guarantee safety ahead of their last group game against Benin Republic.
On Saturday, January 31, 2004, the Stade Mustapha Ben Jannet, Monastir, had a sell-out crowd of 15,000 to watch the star-studded Super Eagles team led by Jay Jay Okocha against South Africa.
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Probably, what Okocha and his teammates had in mind was just to grab all three points in the game, but there was more to the game that would see the name of the skilful Nigerian skipper indelible in the history of the tournament.
A goal from Joseph Yobo gifted Nigeria the lead in the 5th minute of the game. Nigerians would have to wait until the 63rd minute of the encounter for Okocha to score the second from the penalty spot after Nwankwo Kanu had forced Aaron Mokoena to handle the ball. Osaze Odemwingie would score a brace in the 81st and 83rd minutes to send Nigerians jubilating with a comfortable 4-0 win.
However, Okocha’s strike was recorded as the 1000th goal in the history of the competition and the then Bolton Wanderers man was presented with a special award for it.
Featured Image Source: Eurosport
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