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Leading Bolton to UEFA Cup was like winning a title – Okocha

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Former Captain Jay-Jay Okocha described his time with Bolton Wanderers as one of the best of his career and believes playing in Europe with the club was like winning a trophy.

Okocha who was appointed as captain after 12 months at the club scored 18 goals in 144 games between 2002 and 2006, before leaving for Qatar.

He also led Bolton to Carling Cup final, where the lost to Middlesbrough 2-1 in Cardiff.

They qualified for the UEFA Cup ( now Europa League) after finishing sixth placed finish in the Premier League and it was their best season till date.

Okocha started their first game against Lokomotiv Plovdiv at the Reebok Stadium on September 15, 2005 in Bolton, England

Goals from Hidetashi Nakata and Kevin Nolan gave the Trotter a memorable 1st round first leg over the Bulgarian outfit.

The 2-1 scoreline was repeated in the reverse fixture a few weeks later as Wanderers earned passage to the next round, eventually exiting the competition that season in the last 32 phase at the hands of French side Marseille.

Speaking on his time at the Club, Okocha who didn’t win many title in his playing career, said playing in Europe with such a small club tastes like winning a major honor for him.

“People celebrate their achievements in different ways. People have got the opportunity to win trophies with big clubs, but when you are playing in a club like Bolton that had never played two seasons in the Premier League before I signed for them, playing in Europe, for me it’s like winning a trophy.”

“I will say that I didn’t really do my research before going to Bolton, but as a football person, football comes first, not the city, not the lifestyle that comes with the city.” He told Talksport in UK.

Okocha returned to Bolton over the weekend and featured in charity game to raise money for the treatment of Bolton defender Gethin Jones’ mother Karen, who has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

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