Jay-Jay Okocha collects the ball from Uwe Bein with solely Oliver Kahn to beat. He declines the chance to shoot together with his left, shifting the ball to his proper foot earlier than leaving the Karlsruhe goalkeeper on the grass with an extravagant feint.
Time to shoot? Not for Okocha. He darts left, takes on one other defender and cuts again on to his proper as soon as extra, then again to his left. There’s a pause. Kahn has recovered. Slaven Bilic has raced ahead off the road to interact. The second appears to have handed.
It’s then and solely then that Okocha pulls again his left foot and fires the ball between two defenders and previous Kahn into the web. Eintracht Frankfurt have received the sport and their younger substitute Okocha has scored one of the crucial memorable targets of all-time.
It’s the best aim within the historical past of the Bundesliga, in line with Jurgen Klopp. Kahn, that magnificent German goalkeeper, says he’s nonetheless dizzy from the expertise in 1993. Okocha settles for calling it the favorite aim of his lengthy and good profession.
“It simply took longer than I anticipated,” he says.
The shot might need come first time however Kahn was proper there. “It wasn’t deliberate, you understand. It was a counter-attack and after I obtained the ball, I had the goalkeeper in entrance of me, so I pretended as if I used to be going to shoot to do away with him, however he did not wish to go away.”
A second feint shook off Kahn however by then the field was crowded. “As I used to be making an attempt to dribble him, some defenders obtained again. All I used to be making an attempt to do was to seek out that hole to take the shot and, thankfully, for me, I managed to get that,” Okocha explains.
“After just a few seconds.”
Eleven, the truth is. Eleven seconds from the second Okocha acquired the ball to the second he deposited it into the web to win the sport. Nothing, actually. However sufficient to really feel interminable when watching it and sufficient to rework a person’s profession.
This was the world’s introduction to Jay-Jay – so good they named him twice. His worldwide debut for Nigeria had come just a few months earlier. This was a fledgling profession. Remarkably, given his chutzpah, this was his third top-flight aim.
Having risen from the obscurity of Germany’s third division, he was at the beginning of his second season at Eintracht Frankfurt. “It’s a membership that I will say gave me the primary alternatives as knowledgeable so it’ll at all times have a particular place in my coronary heart,” he says.
It was the primary actual glimpse of a expertise that might go on to entertain the soccer world for the following decade or so. In England, Okocha is greatest recognized for his time at Bolton Wanderers, when he was adequate to grace the Premier League together with his extraordinary aptitude.
Globally, his World Cup exploits with Nigeria and an Olympic gold medal in 1996 introduced him fame. However in Germany it’s that one aim that resonates most. On this social media age, it’s that 11 seconds with the ball at his toes for Eintracht Frankfurt that endures.
The presence of Kahn provides to the facility of the story, in fact. Again then, he was an uncapped younger goalkeeper but to maneuver to Bayern Munich not to mention be named the person of the match in a Champions League last or the world’s greatest goalkeeper 3 times over.
The sight of the regal Kahn left lunging this fashion and that’s all a part of the spectacle. The denouement comes simply earlier than Okocha rips off his shirt in celebration. Kahn’s face sinks to the turf, his physique limp. This charismatic big of a goalkeeper, crushed and bereft.
Requested if he has mentioned the second with Kahn since, Okocha smiles that smile of his and the grin widens. “No, I imply, he’s a giant lad, you understand,” he says, chuckling on the considered it. “He seems to be a bit scary. I do not suppose it could be clever for me to speak to him about it.”
Everybody else is just too completely happy to say it.
“Even now, individuals nonetheless speak about it. The aim modified loads for me. It was just like the aim that introduced me to the limelight in Europe, you understand, as a result of it was proven in so many nations. I can solely say that I’m completely happy that it occurred.”
A thought happens.
“It ended up understanding properly for me, you understand, however then may you’ve gotten imagined what would have occurred to me if I had missed?”
Klaus Toppmoller, the Eintracht Frankfurt coach who would go on to take Bayer Leverkusen to a Champions League last, left Okocha in little question afterwards. He instructed him that he would by no means have picked him once more if he had not finally put the ball into the web.
Fortunately for the remainder of us, Okocha simply didn’t suppose like that.
He at all times embraced the enjoyable.
For some, it was a flaw. Bernd Holzenbein, Eintracht Frankfurt legend and World Cup winner, has since mentioned that a lot of what Okocha produced on the pitch was “unprofitable artwork” – describing him as a participant who was extra circus act than match-winner.
However the streets of Frankfurt don’t forget. When it got here time for the followers to pick out the best XI of their historical past, Okocha, with extra relegations than trophies in his 4 seasons on the membership, was included. A celebration of his expertise and a lament to a misplaced age.
Will we see one other Jay-Jay Okocha? It isn’t doubtless.
“I feel each participant is exclusive, you understand,” says the person himself.
“We now have obtained a variety of proficient gamers within the Bundesliga.”
After which, that trademark pause…
“However, with all due respect, possibly I used to be slightly bit particular.”