The Super Eagles were in Kenya for a World Cup qualifier that ended in a 1-1 draw at MISC, Kasarani 23 years ago
Harambee Stars head coach Jacob ‘Ghost’ Mulee has revealed how he helped Nigerian legend Jay-Jay Okocha purchase suits in Nairobi in 1998.
The Super Eagles were in Kenya to face Harambee Stars in a World Cup qualifier at Moi International Sports Complex, and Mulee got a chance to interact with the star-studded side including Okocha.
“I remember after one training session, Okocha approached me and asked where he could buy two suits in Nairobi. He wanted to wear one pair after the game and another for his trip back home. At the shop, he paid with a swiping card, which was the first time I’d seen such a payment method,” Mulee told Jalang’o TV.
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“Since that was in 1998, one pair of suits was around Ksh100,000. Just imagine what that amount could be at the current exchange rate. He never asked for a price reduction as he just selected them and paid them without haggling.”
Fresh from winning the 1996 Olympic medal, the Super Eagles were boasting big names for the qualifiers, but Mulee was struck by their simple and humble approach.
“Okocha, Sunday Oliseh, Daniel Amokachi, Taribo West, and TJ Babangida were big names, but I have never seen such humble people. Since I was their team guide, I used to attend their training sessions at Ruaraka. They kept time and were very responsible people despite carrying big tags in the football fraternity,” added the former Tusker head coach.
The Cecafa winning coach also talked about how little the Nigerians ate, according to what he noticed.
“What surprised me was the amount of food they ate during lunchtime; very little and they used the majority of their time to discuss football, especially about the opponent, strategizing how to beat Kenya. They marked out who was Kenya’s dangerman, the free-kick taker and came out with plans to counter all that. They never used to spend too much on food,” he added.
Kenya managed a 1-1 draw against the Super Eagles in a game that was attended by the then president, Daniel Arap Moi. Mulee said the Chinese, who constructed the stadium, thereafter warned Kasarani could have collapsed had Kenya scored the second goal.
“Remember it is a 60,000 capacity stadium and the people who were allowed to enter were well over 80,000,” he concluded. “The constructors warned Kasarani could have gone down had Kenya scored another goal due to the impact of the fans.”
Ken Simiyu scored Kenya’s goal while Jonathan Akpoborie was later credited for the Super Eagles goal after it was not clear who between him and Uche Okechukwu headed home the ball from a corner kick.