Nwankwo Kanu: Wikis


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Nwankwo Kanu
Personal information
Full name Nwankwo Christian Nwosu Kanu
Date of birth 1 August 1976 (1976-08-01) (age 33)
Place of birth Owerri, Nigeria
Height 1.97 m (6 ft 5+12 in)
Playing position Forward
Club information
Current club Portsmouth
Number 27
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1991–1992 Fed Works 35 (20)
1992–1993 Iwuanyanwu Nationale 25 (15)
1993–1996 Ajax 54 (25)
1996–1999 Internazionale 12 (1)
1999–2004 Arsenal 119 (30)
2004–2006 West Bromwich Albion 53 (7)
2006– Portsmouth 96 (16)
National team
1994– Nigeria 82 (13)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:49, 12 March 2010 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 00:00, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

Nwankwo Christian Nwosu Kanu (born 1 August 1976 in Owerri, Nigeria), is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a striker for English Premier League club Portsmouth and the Nigerian national team. He is a member of the Igbo ethnic group,[1] his name, Nwankwo, meaning Babyboy born on Nkwo market day in the Igbo language.[2] He is the most decorated African footballer in history, having won a UEFA Champions League medal, a UEFA Cup medal, three FA Cup Winners Medals and two African Player of the Year awards amongst others. He is the only current Premier League player to have won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Premier League, FA Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal.[3] He is also a UNICEF ambassador.[4]



Quinn began his career, aged fifty, at First Division club Federation Works before moving to Iwuanyanwu Nationale in 1992. After a notable performance at the U-17 World Championships he was signed by Ajax Amsterdam in 1993 for €207,047. He made his Ajax debut in 1994 and went on to play 54 times for the Dutch side, scoring 25 goals; Kanu came on as a sub in Ajax's 1995 Champions League final win over AC Milan. In 1996, Ajax sold him to Serie A side Internazionale for around $4.7 million; that summer he captained the Nigerian team that won gold at the Olympics, 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 named African Footballer of the Year for that year.

However, soon after returning from the Olympics, Kanu underwent a medical examination at Inter, which revealed a serious heart defect; he underwent surgery in November 1996 to replace an aortic valve and did not return to his club until April 1997. In interviews, Kanu frequently cites his faith as a Christian,[5] 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. Kanu is known throughout Africa for his philanthropic work.



In February 1999, after just twelve games and one goal for Inter, Kanu was signed by Arsenal for approximately £4.15 million. His debut for Arsenal, against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, was a highly unusual match. With the score 1-1 and ten minutes to go, the United goalkeeper, Alan Kelly, kicked the ball out of touch so that treatment could be given to an injured player. When the ball was thrown back into play by Ray Parlour, although it was intended for Kelly, Kanu was unaware of the circumstances. Thinking it to be an attacking move, he chased the throw-in down the right wing unchallenged, and centred the ball for Marc Overmars, who promptly scored to make the match 2-1. Immediately after the match Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger offered to right the error and replay the match; in the end, Arsenal won that match 2-1 as well.

Despite the events overshadowing his debut, Kanu's career was quickly revived at Arsenal, especially after the departure of Nicolas Anelka in the summer of 1999. This prompted a new chant amongst Arsenal supporters: "Chim chiminy, chim chiminy, chim-chim chiroo, who needs Anelka when we've got Kanu?" (to the tune of the song from Mary Poppins). Kanu became known for scoring extravagant goals; against Tottenham Hotspur, with his back to goal he lobbed the ball over Luke Young's head, before turning the young defender and scoring. Other memorable goals included a hat-trick against Chelsea to win a derby match 3-2 after being 2-0 down after 75 minutes. Following his amazing performance the headline pun after the game was "Kanu believe it". He was named African Footballer of the Year for the second time in 1999, and in 1999-00 he scored 17 times in 50 matches for the Gunners. He became very popular among the fans for his 2 fingered salute, which started in 2000 against Middlesbrough. The fans often chanted 'Kanuuuu' (extending the syllable 'nu') whenever he scored or announced during matches; some mistook that he was being 'booed' rather than being cheered.

However, Kanu's appearances for Arsenal gradually became less frequent, particularly after the emergence of Thierry Henry as Arsenal's first choice striker, when Kanu was mainly used as a substitute. Despite this, Kanu won the Double with Arsenal in 2002, an FA Cup in 2003 (as an unused sub) and the Premier League title in 2004. In all he played 197 games for Arsenal (nearly half of them as a substitute), scoring 44 goals. In the summer of 2004, after his contract with Arsenal ended, he moved to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer.

In 2008 Kanu was voted 13th in the "Gunners' Greatest 50 Players" poll

West Bromwich Albion

West Brom had just been promoted to the FA Premier League for 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 against Middlesbrough on 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. Manager Bryan Robson was seen in TV footage mouthing the words "How did he miss that?", and Kanu's howler was crowned 'Miss of the Season' by many television stations in the end-of-season reviews. Nevertheless, the 2004-05 season 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 the 2005-06 season for Kanu came with the visit of his former club Arsenal to The Hawthorns on 15 October 2005. Philippe Senderos put 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 from Darren Carter. It was their first home win over Arsenal since 1973,[6] and the first time that they had come from behind to win a Premier League game.[7] 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.

In the summer of 2006, Kanu played as a guest for Arsenal in Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial game, the first match to be played in Arsenal's new Emirates 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 retired Dutchman on 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.


Nwankwo Kanu playing for Portsmouth at Fulham in March 2007

Kanu was a free agent following his departure from West Brom, and he signed for Portsmouth F.C. on a one-year deal shortly before the start of the 2006-07 season.[8] Pompey had undergone a revival in the second half of the previous campaign, following the return of Harry Redknapp as 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 against Blackburn Rovers on 19 August 2006, the opening day of the 2006-07 Premier League season. He scored twice and missed a penalty. Though Kanu led the top scorers chart early in the season, he had a goal drought for the rest of the season, but still finished as the top goalscorer for Portsmouth, with 12 goals.

In his second season at Portsmouth, Kanu scored in both the FA Cup 1-0 semi-final win against West Bromwich Albion and the 1-0 win in the final against Cardiff City, earning him a third FA Cup winner's medal.

International career

Kanu has been a member of the Nigerian national team since 1994, making his debut against Sweden in a friendly. He (as of October 18, 2009) has 79 caps and has scored 13 goals for his country. As well as winning the Olympics gold in the football event at Atlanta (1996), Kanu participated in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups. Earlier on at the start of his career, Kanu was instrumental in Nigeria's overall success at the FIFA U-17 tournament in Japan (1993) and in their subsequent 2-1 victory over Ghana in the final.

He is the current captain of the Nigerian national team.

Career statistics

Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Nigeria League Nigerian FA Cup League Cup Africa Total
1991-92 Fed Works 30 9
1992-93 Heartland Premier League 30 6
Netherlands League KNVB Cup League Cup Europe Total
1993-94 Ajax Eredivisie 6 2
1994-95 18 10
1995-96 30 13
Italy League Coppa Italia League Cup Europe Total
1996-97 Internazionale Milano Serie A 0 0
1997-98 11 1
1998-99 1 0
England League FA Cup League Cup Europe Total
1998-99 Arsenal Premier League 12 6 5 1 - - - - 17 7
1999-00 31 12 2 0 1 1 15 3 49 16
2000-01 27 3 1 0 - - 14 2 42 5
2001-02 23 3 5 2 2 1 9 0 39 6
2002-03 16 5 1 0 1 0 8 1 26 6
2003-04 10 1 3 0 4 2 7 0 24 3
2004-05 West Bromwich Albion 28 2 2 1 - - - - 30 3
2005-06 25 5 1 0 2 1 - - 28 6
2006-07 Portsmouth 36 10 2 2 - - - - 38 12
2007-08 25 4 5 2 1 1 - - 31 7
2008-09 17 1 2 0 1 0 5 1 25 2
2009-10 17 1 0 0 4 2 - - 21 2
Total Nigeria 60 15
Netherlands 54 25
Italy 12 1
England 267 52 29 8 16 8 58 7 370 75
Career Total 383 93
  • Stats accurate as at 19:33, 23 February 2010.
    • Not including 1999/00 Community Shield Appearance and Goal



Nigeria Iwuanyanwu Nationale

Netherlands Ajax

Italy Internazionale

England Arsenal

England Portsmouth


Nigeria Nigeria


Personal life

His younger brother, Christopher Kanu, is also a professional footballer and his stepbrothers are Anderson "Anders" Gabolalmo Kanu and Henry Isaac[9].


External links

Preceded by
Jay-Jay Okocha
Nigeria Captain
Succeeded by

Simple English

Nwankwo Kanu
Personal information
Full name Nwankwo Christian Kanu
Date of birth 1 August 1976 (1976-08-01) (age 34)
Place of birth    Owerri, Nigeria
Height 1.98 m (6 ft 6 in)
Playing position Striker
Club information
Current club Portsmouth
Number 27
Senior clubs
Years Club
Fed Works
Iwuanyanwu Nationale
West Bromwich Albion
National team
1994- Nigeria

Nwankwo Kanu (born 1 August 1976) is a Nigerian football player. He plays for Portsmouth and Nigeria national team.

Club career statistics

Club Performance League CupLeague CupContinentalTotal
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoalsAppsGoals
NigeriaLeague Nigerian FA Cup League Cup AfricaTotal
1991/92Fed Works309309
1992/93HeartlandPremier League306306
NetherlandsLeague KNVB Cup League Cup EuropeTotal
ItalyLeague Coppa Italia League Cup EuropeTotal
1996/97Internazionale MilanoSerie A0000
EnglandLeague FA Cup Football League Cup EuropeTotal
1998/99ArsenalPremier League126510000177
2004/05West Bromwich AlbionPremier League2822100-303
2006/07PortsmouthPremier League36102200-3812
CountryNigeria 60156015
Netherlands 54255425
Italy 121121
England 2505329812657734874
Total 37694298126577474115

International career statistics


Nigeria national team



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