Utaka: Okocha, Kanu inspired me to football heights…

Former Super Eagles attacker, John Utaka has attributed his football achievements to former national teammates, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and Nwankwo Kanu.

Utaka who was recently appointed Montpellier U-19 coach said joining Okocha and Kanu in the same dressing room was a career booster, having adored the duo from youth.

“Kanu competed in the Olympic Games. He inspired me a lot because he was not a fast player, but he is very smart and very technical in games,” Utaka told the Montpellier website.

“When I got my first call-up to Nigeria in 2000, he was there with Okocha, and for me it was. I was watching them on TV, and there I was playing with them. It was a dream fulfilled.

“They encouraged me by telling me not to be afraid to express myself as I knew how to do and especially to listen to the coaches. It was good advice.”

Utaka went on to earn 49 caps for the Super Eagles before calling time on his international career in 2012.

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