Jay Jay Okocha: Throwback When Bolton Star Destroyed Arsenal Legend Ray Parlour

Jay Jay Okocha: Throwback When Bolton Star Destroyed Arsenal Legend Ray Parlour

Edwin Kiplagat
February 28, 2024 at 3:30 PM
In this article:
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Bolton Wanderers
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  • Jay-Jay Okocha spent four seasons at Bolton Wanderers
  • The Nigerian legend is known for his flamboyant style
  • His rainbow flick against Arsenal is an iconic moment

Jay-Jay Okocha remains one of Africa's greatest-ever footballers.

His dancing feet entertained millions of football fans across the world.

His audacious rainbow flick over Arsenal legend, Ray Parlour, in the 2002/03 season is one of his best moments in the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers.

Jay-Jay Okocha rainbow flick, Bolton vs Arsenal, Premier League, Nigeria, AFCON, PSG
Jay-Jay Okocha came up against legendary Arsenal players like Ray Parlour. Photos by Adrian Dennis and David Cannon.
Source: Getty Images

Okocha joined Bolton in 2002 after playing in Germany, Turkey and France. His arrival was a surprise, considering Bolton were not a club of PSG's stature.

However, he went on to have an incredible four-year run under Sam Allardyce. The Super Eagles legend had several unforgettable moments in a Bolton shirt.

The most memorable one was the rainbow flick over Parlour.

In a game against Arsenal in the 2002/03 season, Bolton erased a 2-0 deficit against the Gunners with six minutes left to play.

In their attempt to waste time, Okocha and his teammate, World Cup winner, Youri Djorkaeff, took a short corner. Instead of protecting the ball and running down the clock, the Nigerian boldly flicked the ball over Parlour before passing it to a teammate.

“It was something that I perfected,” the AFCON winner told Talksport.
“It’s all about doing it at the right time and the right moment we were trying to see out the game, play out the draw, which was a massive result for us, and in that little corner that was always on for me.”

His performance against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane in Bolton's 1-0 win was one of his best, per The Athletic.

Okocha on African flair

Sports Brief earlier reported on Okocha expressing his concerns about the decline of flair in African football.

"I believe we’re witnessing a decline in the distinctive African flair in football."

In the last few years, African football has been dominated by the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. African footballers at their peak are moving to Saudi Arabia.

Okocha tops Nigerian Bundesliga list

Sports Brief earlier reported on Okocha topping the list of greatest Nigerian footballers to play in the Bundesliga. The PSG legend opened the door for many Nigerian players in Germany.

Jonathan Akpoborie bagged 60 Bundesliga goals and spent most of his career in Germany, with the likes of Sunday Oliseh also represented there.

Edwin Kiplagat photo
Edwin Kiplagat
Edwin Kiplagat has five years of experience in journalism working as a Sports Editor at Africa Insight Communications and ESPN. Edwin Kiplagat is a Bachelor's Degree holder in journalism from the Multimedia University of Kenya.