Doubts Raised Over Okocha's Cup Participation

Last updated : 14 January 2004 By Mark Heys
Bolton Wanderers captain Jay-Jay Okocha is reportedly set to pull out of the Nigeria squad for the African Cup of Nations due to financial difficulties which have forced the player to return to his homeland to try and sort out the problem.

The 30-year old former Paris Saint Germain playmaker had invested money into a bank in Nigeria and because that bank ran into difficulty the player beleives he has lost some money and is returning home to seek some answers.

"My mind is with Nigeria. I love the country. I'm captain of the team and I know my responsibilities. But honestly, I'm troubled, I have almost all my money in a bank in Nigeria. Now the bank has a problem and I'm in real trouble, in real mess. I really don't know what to do. That's why I'm staying back at the club to see if I can make a little money playing matches" Okocha told Vanguard.

However club chairman Phil Gartside has said he is unaware of any financial difficulties which the Super Eagles captain faces and said everything seemed normal when he spoke to the player.

"I am not aware of it that Jay-Jay might not be going to the African Cup of Nations, It would be the best news if he did not go and stayed at the club.I know nothing about it and I saw Jay-Jay last night and he did not mention it." Gartside told SKY Sports