Nwankwo Kanu: Football World Celebrate Legendary ‘Papillo’ At 44

By Dailysports on August 2, 2020

Views: 970

Former Arsenal, Inter Milan and Nigeria striker Nwankwo Kanu has been celebrated on his 44th birthday. 

Leading the tributes is the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), who lauded the two-time African Player of the Year for his contribution to the Super Eagles.

“Happy birthday to two-time Africa Player of the year and Nigeria football legend, Kanu. Have a good one Papilo,” NFF tweeted.

The Confederation of African Football (Caf) recollected the performances of Kanu for Nigeria at the Africa Cup of Nations, where he helped the West Africans win bronze medals and finished as runner-up in the 2000 edition.

“Legendary African footballer Nwankwo Kanu turns 44 today. The Nigerian is one of the continent’s greatest talents, dazzling fans all over the world throughout his career,” read a tweet from Caf, accompanied by a video.

Fifa also recalled, in a video, how the heroic last-minute strike from the forward helped Nigeria stun Brazil in the semi-finals of the 1996 Olympic Games to secure a place in the final and subsequently win the gold medal in the tournament.

“Happy 44th birthday to the magician who was twice named African Footballer of the Year,” read a tweet from Fifa.

Back home in eastern Nigeria, football fans in Ebonyi State also celebrated Kanu’s birthday.

Emeka Ikegwu, an aide to Ebonyi Commissioner for Youths and Sports, said that Kanu brought smiles to millions of Nigerian football fans with his sublime skills and trademark passes.

“Kanu won two African Footballer of the Year awards, an AFCON silver medal, four AFCON bronze medals among other illustrous honours.

“The former Iwuanyawu Nationale of Owerri player was also the first Nigerian alongside Finidi George to win the UEFA champions league trophy with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland in 1995,” he said.

Allen Onyebuchi, Defunct NITEL Vasco Dagama of Enugu player, and an Arsenal FC of England fan said that the club’s fans were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time at the EPL club.

“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible team that did not lose any match in the 2003-2004 EPL season.

“He later ‘dropped’ to lowly rated team such as West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth but had illustrious careers with Inter Milan of Italy and Ajax of Holland before then,” he said.

Chief Abraham Okoh, a Financial Expert urged active footballers to emulate Kanu in investing properly for life after retirement, noting that Papillo invested wisely.

“Kanu, Austin Okocha and a few ex-internationals are still ‘financially solvent’ after retiring from active football as against majority of such players who have gone bankrupt.

“He must have explored the celebrity vagaries of stars of his status but still remembered that there are ‘rainy days’ to face when the ‘legs become weak’,” he said.

Mrs Jane Ibekwe, a teacher and football fan, said that what fascinated her about Kanu was that he joined the league of  players who married Nigerian ladies.

“Such decision helped stabilised his career and made it free from controversies which usually trail such big stars.

“He has also stayed away from controversies even on retirement and this truly shows that he understands his ‘poor roots’,” she said.

Kanu started his career in Nigeria with Iwuanyanwu Nationale before moving to Europe to join Ajax in 1993, where he enjoyed great success.

The forward helped the Dutch club to win the Champions League, three Eredivisie titles, Uefa Super Cup and Intercontinental Cup trophies before departing the side in 1996 to join Inter Milan.

His eye-catching performances then earned him a move to Arsenal in 1999 and won two Premier League titles and the FA Cup, among other accolades with the Gunners.

Kanu ended his five-year stay with the Emirates Stadium outfit in 2004 to team up with West Bromwich Albion and played for Portsmouth for six years, winning the FA Cup title with the side before his retirement.

Kanu scored 12 goals in 87 appearances for Nigeria during a 17-year career with the three-time African champions.

He is currently the Super Eagles ambassador and his Kanu Heart Foundation helped in treating children with heart diseases, having suffered a similar problem during his football career.

•Based on reports by Goal and NAN. PHOTO: Legendary footballer Nwankwo Kanu

Source Dailysports

Posted August 2, 2020


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