Barclays Bank will next week host Jay Jay Okocha for the 49th edition of the Barclays Kenya Open Golf Tournament. If you are a football fan, then the name Jay Jay Okocha should definitely ring a bell. Jay Jay Okocha is a former Nigerian professional footballer and an African football not to mention Barclays Premier League legend. During his hey days he was such a quick and skillful playmaker that Bolton Wanderers fans (he played there from 2002 -2006) had a chant where they described him as “ so good that they named him twice”.
Okocha’s career spans over 20 years and he was part of the Nigerian squad that won the African Cup of Nations and gold medal at the 1996 Olympic games. Honors that have been bestowed on him during his illustrious career include; BBC African Footballer of the year (2004 & 2005), Bolton Wanderers Footballer of the year (2005), Nigerian Footballer of the year (1995, 1997, 2000, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005) and African Nations Cup player of the tournament and joint golden boot winner.
During the tournament Okocha will swap his boots for golf clubs and play at the Barclays Pro-Am which will be going down on the 22nd March 2017 at the Muthaiga Golf Club. Pro-Am acts as a curtain raiser for the Barclays open and gives an opportunity to Kenyan amateurs to play and learn from the best in the golfing world.
During the Barclays Open which tees off on 23rd March and culminates on Sunday 26th March, there will be a total of 156 golfers drawn from across the world. The golfers will battle it out for a total of 220,000 Euros with the winner taking home 32,000 Euros. Kenya will this year be represented by 22 professionals and 4 amateurs. Even though no Kenyan made it to the top three last year we are hopeful that the likes of Stefan Anderson, Greg Snow, Dismas Indiza and Brian Njoroge will fly our flag high.
Barclays started sponsoring the tournament in 2011 to mark its 95th anniversary and then became a title sponsor a year later in a 4 year deal. Other than golfing Okocha will aslo share career tips with university students under the Barclays ReadytoWork programme and also interact with customers.