Muhammad Ali, Jay-Jay Okocha – So, what’s in a name?

Muhammad Ali, Jay-Jay Okocha  – So, what’s in a name?

Veteran journalist, Dr. Larry Izamoje reacted to MC Algiers coach’s statement of not having any knowledge about Lagos club MFM FC ahead of their CAF Champions League 2nd round first leg encounter.

Dr. Izamoje backed the Olukoya boys and drew reference to the 1967 boxing classic between Muhammad Ali and Ernie Terrel.

Where Dr. Izamoje reminded listeners while backing MFM FC how Ali asked Ernie Terrell “what’s my name”? with every punishing blow he landed on Terrel when the later had claimed not to know who Muhammed Ali was prior to the boxing match.


MFM FC would defeat the visiting MC Algiers 2-1 in front of the Agege fans later in the evening and “formally” introduce themselves to the Algerian coach.

Muhammad Ali [L] vs Ernie Terrell during their boxing match in 1967. [credit: boxing.com]

Often times we have seen sportsmen especially footballers tweak or chose a preferred name/pet name other than the usual or original name they are known with.

Sometimes, the motive may be to emphasize meaning or a personal preference or even a means to familiarize with the fans.

Jay Jay Okocha

The popular football legend, born Augustine Azuka Okocha. Though during his playing days with Fenerbache of Turkey, the Nigerian legend obtained a Turkish citizenship with the name Muhammet Yavuz.  However, he is popularly known as Jay Jay Okocha.

The name “Jay-Jay” was actually passed down from his older brother James, who started playing football first. His immediate older brother Emmanuel was also called Emma Jay-jay, but the name stuck with Augustine Okocha.

Jay Jay Okocha had an impressive debut season at Bolton Wanderers when he joined in 2002. The Bolton Wanderers appreciated his contributions to the squad when they printed shirts with the inscription “Jay-Jay – so good they named him twice”.

Dele Ali

Born Bamidele Jermaine Alli. The British-born, Tottenham Hotspur playmaker decided to drop his surname from his shirts as he felt no connection with the Allis’. So far, we’ve seen him wear shirts with the first name “Dele”.

credit: jollof sports

Kelechi Iheanacho

The Nigerian and Leicester City forward recently added two dots to his surname on the back of his shirt.

From the Igbo ethnic group in south-east Nigeria, Kelechi explained it was to emphasize how it’s written and the pronunciation of the name which means “What we have been looking for”.

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