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Okocha heads off for lure of Qatari league

LONDON, July 19 (Reuters) - Former Nigeria international Jay-Jay Okocha has signed a one-year contract with Qatari first division team Sports Club, while Australia's Tony Popovic is also moving to the Gulf state.

Okocha was released by Bolton Wanderers in May after the 32-year-old midfielder had made 123 appearances and scored 18 goals since joining the Premier league club from Paris St Germain in 2002.

'Of course, Jay-Jay is here to help us win silverware,' Qatar Sports Club board member Shiekh Jassim bin Hamad bin Nasser Al Thani said in a statement on the Asian Football Confederation website.

'He has passed the medical and will join the team in a training camp in the Czech Republic soon.'

Okocha, who won 74 caps for Nigeria after making his debut in 1993, was part of his country's 1996 Olympic gold medal-winning side and was in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup squads.

He retired from international football after Nigeria lost to Ivory Coast in this year's African Nations Cup semi-finals.

Popovic, Australia's World Cup defender, has also moved to Qatar after the 33-year-old signed a deal with first division rivals Al Arabi Sports Club.

Popovic, capped 57 times by the Socceroos, had previously played for Sydney United, Sanfrecce Hiroshima and most recently, a five-year spell with English club Crystal Palace.