Former Eagles teammates, Jay-Jay Okocha and Samson Siasia, are reuniting once more. This time, it is in India, and in different capacities.
Siasia has been contracted by Durgapur, one of the country’s Premier League teams, as coach while Okocha will be playing under his tutelage.
Both players were part of the golden generation of Nigerian football featuring together at several tournaments including the USA’94 World Cup.
Interestingly also, Okocha was on the panel of the Nigeria Football Federation that interviewed Siasia before the hiring him as Eagles coach in December 2010.
At an auctioning ceremony held in Kolkata on Monday, Durgapur splashed over N88m ($550,000) to have Okocha in their fold while over N33.6m ($210.000) was paid to organisers to have Siasia.
Argentine legend, Hernan Crespo, emerged as the star attraction among a host of semi-retired world stars auctioned in Kolkata to play in the new football tournament in India.
Crespo was picked up for $840,000 by the Barasat franchise to play alongside district-level players over seven weeks in the proposed Premier League Soccer (PLS).
Italy’s World Cup-winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro, went for $830,000 to Siliguri, Robert Pires of France fetched $800,000 from Howrah and Robbie Fowler of England was sold to Kolkata for $530,000..
The tournament, the brainchild of football officials in the eastern state of West Bengal, is a franchise-based event on the lines of cricket’s popular Indian Premier League.
Organisers said the dates of the tournament will be announced early next month.
The five city franchises will play each other twice on a home-and-away basis with the top four qualifying for the semi-finals.
The tournament is an attempt to fuel growing interest in football in cricket-mad India, which is ranked a lowly 158th in current FIFA rankings.
Each of the franchises will be coached by well-known names, who were also auctioned on Monday.
Portugese coach, Fernando Couto, was sold to Howrah for $240,000, former Manchester City manager, Peter Reid, went for $200,000 to Kolkata, while Bolivian Marco Etcheverry was picked up by Siliguri for $200,000.
Teitur Thordarson of Iceland got $210,000 from Barasat.