Super Eagles midfielder Joe Aribo says replacing Austin Okocha in the national team is almost an impossible task for him.
The Rangers star currently wears the Eagles No. 10 shirt made popular by the iconic Okocha and has been tipped by many to fill the void left by the former Paris Saint Germain playmaker.
Okocha, 47, retired from international football in 2006 after making 73 appearances for Nigeria, scoring 14 goals. His international career was lit with so many eye-catching and magical displays that endeared him to the hearts of Nigerian fans.
A veteran of three World Cups (1994, 1998 & 2002), Okocha was part of Nigeria’s Africa Cup of Nations-winning team in 1994.
Since his retirement, Nigeria has struggled to find a replacement for him in the team.
The former Charlton Athletic midfielder, who is now seen as the heir apparent to Okocha’s throne, said he is not under any pressure to replace the ex-Super Eagles captain, as he understands the demands of wearing Nigeria’s No. 10 shirt.
Speaking in a media parley at the Eagles Eko Hotels camp in Lagos, Aribo who recently helped Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title described the former Bolton and Fenerbahce star as a legend, whose shoes he cannot fill.
“Jay Jay Okocha is legendary, he is a legend. He is amazing,” the 24-year-old Aribo said. “Even if I could fill his shoes in the slightest, I will be happy with that.
“But I wouldn’t say I necessarily feel pressure. I know what the No. 10 shirt means to the nation. But I’ll just say that I just need to be the best that I can be and give the best; what I can do for the team to help the team.
“But in terms of filling the shoes, I can’t fill Jay Jay’s shoes. He’s different level, honestly. He is a legend.”
Aribo, who has been capped just 6 times by the Super Eagles, has scored twice – in his first two matches against Ukraine in September 2019 and against Brazil, a month later.