Former Nigeria star Daniel Amokachi has backed the host of Africans lured by the riches of the Chinese Super League. Several Africans moved to China prior to its transfer window closing this week, including Super Eagles John Mikel Obi, Odion Ighalo and Brown Ideye.
“We play football be cause we want to make a living,” said Amokachi.
“We don’t have that platform whereby everything has already been set for us from the day we were born – like Europeans. We don’t live on welfare.”
Ighalo and Mikel
A former assistant coach of Nigeria who now manages JS Hercules in Finland, the onetime Everton forward said this lack of financial support explained the wave of Africans and South Americans moving to China.
While some have questioned the ambition of footballers who have quit the top leagues of Europe for the vast wealth of China, Amokachi begs to differ.
He points to Mikel who has yet to turn 30 but who won the European Champions League, two Premier League titles, four FA Cups and the Europa League during his decade-long spell with Chelsea.
The midfielder joined Tianjin Teda in January after failing to feature for the Blues this season.
“Mikel played for a top team in Europe and won practically everything that he needs to win as a footballer,” Amokachi told BBC Sport.
“What’s left for him is to make a lot of zeros to secure his future and that of his kids and family back home.”
Like Mikel, the 28-year-old Ideye has signed for Tianjin Teda who finished 11th in last season’s Super League.