IN 2018 Stylo Matchmakers WERE PROUD TO SPONSOR KANU FOR HIS CHARITY IN RAISING MONEY FOR LIFE SAVING EQUIPTMENT FOR CHILDREN WITH HEART DEFECTS IN AFRICA. kanu sported our heirship blackout boots in which he scored 2 goals.
Born inOwerri, Imo, Nigeria, Kanu began his career at Nigerian league club Federation Works, before moving to Iwuanyanwu Nationale. After a notable performance at theU-17 World Championshipshe was signed by DutchEredivisieAFC Ajaxin 1993 for an undisclosed fee. He made his Ajax debut that year and went on to score 25 goals in 54 appearances. Kanu also came on as a sub in Ajax’s 1995Champions Leaguefinal win overA.C. Milan.
In 1996, Ajax sold Kanu toSerie AsideInter Milanfor around $4.7 million. That summer he captained theNigerian teamthat won gold at theOlympics, and scored two late goals in the semi-finals against powerhouses Brazil to overturn a 2–3 scoreline into a 4–3 win in extra time. Kanu was also namedAfrican Footballer of the Yearfor that year.
However, soon after returning from the Olympics, Kanu underwent a medical examination at Inter, which revealed a seriousheartdefect; he underwent surgery in November 1996 to replace anaortic valveand did not return to his club until April 1997. In interviews, Kanu frequently cites his faith as a Christian, and has often mentioned this trying time of his career as an occasion when he prayed to God. Kanu’s experience also led to his founding the Kanu Heart Foundation, an organisation that helps predominantly young African children who suffer heart defects and whose work was expanded to provide aid for homeless children in 2008.
In February 1999, after just twelve games and one goal for Inter, Kanu was signed by Arsenal for approximately £4.15 million. He made his debut for Arsenal, againstSheffield Unitedin theFA Cup.
Despite the events overshadowing his debut, Kanu’s career was quickly revived at Arsenal. He scored his first goal for the club in the next round of the cup againstDerby County coming off the bench to net the only goal of the game.] He quickly became known for his goal scoring prowess from the bench, scoring important goals against Sheffield Wednesday, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa as a substitute. He became very popular among the fans for his two-fingered salute which started in 1999 against Middlesbrough – something that he later explained was based on the team’s nickname, The Gunners.
Kanu was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1999. In the1999–2000 seasonhe scored 17 times in 50 matches for the Gunners, including a hat-trick in fifteen minutes against Chelsea to turn a 2–0 deficit into a 3–2 victory. In August 2001, Arsenal rejected a bid fromFulhamof around £7m for Kanu.However, Kanu’s appearances for Arsenal gradually became less frequent, particularly after the emergence ofThierry Henryas Arsenal’s first choice striker with Kanu being mainly used as a substitute. Kanu then won the 2003FA Cupwith Arsenal. Along with other famous players, such as Henry andRobert Pires, Kanu is a member of the “Invincibles”, the Arsenal side that finished the2003–04 season of the Premier Leagueundefeated. He played 197 games for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals. In the summer of 2004, after his contract with Arsenal ended, he moved toWest Bromwich Albionon a free transfer. In 2008, Kanu was voted 13th in the “Gunners’ Greatest 50 Players” poll.
In the summer of 2006, Kanu played as a guest forArsenalinDennis Bergkamp’s testimonial game, the first match to be played in Arsenal’s newEmirates Stadium. The game was tied 1–1 when Kanu scored the winning goal, making him the third person to score in the stadium. At the end of the match, Kanu joined the rest of the Arsenal side in hoisting the retiredDutchmanon their shoulders as fans gave him a standing ovation.He remains a popular figure at Arsenal, being applauded when he appears at the Emirates Stadium.
West Brom had just been promoted to thePremier Leaguefor the second time in the space of two years. Kanu started as a regular for the club, making his debut in a 1–1 draw away at Blackburn Rovers on 14 August 2004. He scored his first goal for Albion on 18 September 2004, an 88th-minute equalizer in a 1–1 home draw against Fulham. In a match againstMiddlesbroughon 14 November 2004, Kanu was guilty of an incredible miss in injury time, with Albion 2–1 down. Kanu had sent a low cross over the bar from a yard away from the goal line. ManagerBryan Robsonwas seen in TV footage mouthing the words “How did he miss that?”, and Kanu’s howler was crowned “Miss of the Season” by many media outlets in their end-of-season reviews. Nevertheless, the2004–05season was ultimately a memorable one for West Brom, as they became the first club to avoid relegation from the Premier League after being bottom of the table at Christmas.
One of the most memorable games of the2005–06season for Kanu came with the visit of his former club Arsenal toThe Hawthornson 15 October 2005.Philippe Senderosput the visitors ahead in the 17th minute, but Kanu equalised shortly before half time. West Brom went on to win the match 2–1 with a spectacular strike fromDarren Carter. It was their first home win over Arsenal since 1973,and the first time that they had come from behind to win a Premier League game. But such highlights were rare for Albion that season, and the club was relegated at the end of 2005–06. Kanu’s contract had expired, and he chose not to renew it. In his two years at The Hawthorns he made a total of 58 appearances – 16 of them as a substitute – and scored nine goals.
Kanu was a free agent following his departure from West Brom, and he signed forPortsmouthon a one-year deal shortly before the start of the2006–07season.Pompey had undergone a revival in the second half of the previous campaign, following the return ofHarry Redknappas manager, avoiding relegation by four points after being in serious danger at the turn of the year. At the start of the 2006–07 season, they were undefeated in their first five games, during which they did not concede a single goal. Kanu made his debut for Portsmouth as a substitute againstBlackburn Roverson 19 August 2006, the opening day of the 2006–07 Premier League season. He scored twice and missed a penalty. Kanu went on to finish the season as the top goalscorer for Portsmouth, with 12 goals altogether. He then signed a new one year deal with the club.
In his second season at Portsmouth, Kanu scored in both theFA Cup1–0 semi-final win againstWest Bromwich Albionand the 1–0 win in thefinalagainstCardiff City, earning him a third2007-08 FA Cupwinner’s medal.
His first goal of the2008–09 seasonput Portsmouth 2–0 up in their eventual 2–2UEFA Cupdraw with Italian club A.C. Milan. He later scored the winning goal againstBolton Wanderers, which ensured Pompey’s mathematical safety. It was his only Premier League goal of 2008–09. He re-signed with Pompey in August 2010, with an eye on becoming a coach when he retired. Kanu signed a three-year deal and kept the number 27 shirt, but was not a regular starter throughout the course of the season and only managed two goals.
Kanu was a member of theNigerian national teamfrom 1994 to 2010, making his debut infriendlyagainstSweden. Earlier on at the start of his career, Kanu was instrumental in Nigeria’s overall success at the1993 FIFA U-17 tournamentin Japan and their subsequent 2–1 victory over Ghana in the final. With five goals, he was second joint-scorer in the tournament
As well as winning the Olympic gold in the football event at1996 Olympicsin Atlanta, where he scored the winning goal in the4–3 semi-final win over Brazil, his second goal of the match]Kanu participated in the1998and2002 FIFA World Cups. On 24 June 2010, Kanu ended his international career following Nigeria’s exit from the2010 World Cupin South Africa. Nigeria lost their group matches againstArgentinaandGreece, before a 2–2 draw withSouth Koreaended their stay in the tournament.He won 86 caps and scored 13 goals for his country and was the joint most capped Nigerian player of all-time alongsideMuda Lawal, untilJoseph Yobosurpassed both players in 2012, winning his 87th cap.