He may not be as famous in the rest of the world as Lionel Messi, who’s getting an animated series of his own, but no soccer player is more respected in Nigeria than Augustine “Jay-Jay” Okocha, whose childhood is being loosely adapted as an animated series at Showmax.
Jay Jay: The Chosen One’s animation isn’t the most impressive we’ve seen from Nigeria – at Annecy we regularly try to catch some of the impressive projects being pitched from the country – but The Chosen One is a 100% Nigerian original commissioned by an African platform and represents a major step forward for a local industry that is growing rapidly.
- Described as a reimagining of Okocha’s childhood, Jay Jay: The Chosen One will be the first original animated series for the African streaming platform Showmax. The platform already released a trailer, linked above.
- The series will run for 13 episodes and feature a young Okocha as he works to put together a soccer team that can represent his school at an important tournament. The show gets truly fantastic when Okocha’s love for the animals results in him gaining superpowers that he uses to fight poachers.
- The Chose One is produced by Nihilent Limited in partnership with 5th Dimension and animation studio I-Realities.
- The Nigerian voice cast is headlined by Prince Unigwe, Chinedu Ikedieze, Samuel Ajibola, Mena Sodje, Lexan Peters, Pamilerin Ayodeji, and former professional soccer player-turned-actor Eric Obinna.
- Okocha played for the Nigerian national team from 1993 through 2006, winning the gold medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. They were the first African team to win the gold. Okocha also had a successful European club career, playing for Fenerbahce, PSG, and Bolton, among others. He retired as a player in 2008 and is considered by many the greatest Nigerian player of all time.
- Said Yolisa Phahle, Showmax CEO: “Not only is Jay Jay: The Chosen One another locally inspired Showmax Original, it marks the beginning of our adventures in animation. This is a show we believe will find audiences globally and shines the spotlight on yet another world-class African achiever that we hope will be enjoyed by kids and the entire family.
- Okocha added: “I’m honored to have an animated series that reimagines my childhood. Jay Jay: The Chosen One is going to bring back good childhood memories as well as inspire young children who have dreams to be football players. I’m excited about the show and grateful to Showmax and the production team who worked hard to bring it to life.”