Former Super Eagles captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha has revealed why he decided to become a Turkish citizen and adopt a new name while playing for Fenerbahce.
27 years after leaving the club, Okocha in an interview with Hurriyet.com said, “I spent 2 years in Turkey and it was really good times for me. People loved me very much. Our fans were amazing.
“As for this kind of offer, I received Turkish citizenship without thinking. I did not want to change my religion, but I got this name because I knew that Muslims loved the name Muhammad.
Further clarifying why he chose to adopt the name Muhammed Yavuz, Okocha said, “I accepted this name because it is very sacred and very important for Muslims. Our facility manager was Yavuz. He was very sympathetic, he would make us laugh a lot.
“I asked him and put my lineage Yavuz. So my name was Muhammed Yavuz.”
Despite his strong ties with Fenerbahce and Turkey, the Nigerian superstar would go on to star for French club Paris Saint-Germain and English club Bolton Wanderers in his storied career after leaving Fener for a then-Turkish transfer record of €16 million to join PSG.