By Ben Efe
FORMER Super Eagles midfield maestro, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has been signed by Indian club Durgapur. Also on board is Samson Siasia who will be the coach of the team. Okocha will earn 550, 000 dollars (about N88.8m), while Siasia will take home 210,000 dollars (N33.9m).
Another Nigerian player, Robert Egbeta was signed by Kolkata for $350,000 (about N56.4m) These signing were part of an auction to herald the newly inaugurated India league, which will commence in March 2012.
Okocha and Siasia who were part of Super Eagles team to the USA’94 World Cup would play alongside other world cup stars like Argentine Hernan Crespo who signed for Barasat for $840,000, he is the highest earning player. Italy World Cup-winning captain, Fabio Cannavaro, is the next most expensive after costing Siliguri $830,000. Other players include Roberto Pires of France and ex England intentional Robbie Fowler
Organizers of the league hope to emulate the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the cricket tournament that attracts huge crowds and which inaugurated the auction system.
They also believe that it will inspire more Indians to play football. India is ranked 158 of the 203 football-playing countries.
“I think that we are at the crossroads for Indian football. I am sure that the PLS will provide a new path,” Bhaswar Goswami, one of the organisers, told the BBC.
The tournament is expected to feature six teams. Each has a salary cap of $2.5m.