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Ebonyi football fans celebrate Nwankwo Kanu at 45

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Ebonyi football fans celebrate Nwankwo Kanu at 45

By Chukwuemeka Opara

Football fans in Ebonyi celebrated the birthday of former Nigerian international and Arsenal legend Nwankwo Kanu on Sunday.

The former Super Eagles skipper turned 45 on Sunday.

The Nigerian News Agency (NAN) reports that the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup winner, affectionately known as “Papillo” by his supporters, had 86 caps for Nigeria.

The former Iwuanyanwu National Football Club talisman of Owerri, scored 13 goals for Nigeria during an enviable career that spanned from 1994 to 2010.

Kanu is a member of the Order of Niger (MON), Olympic football gold medalist and has had an illustrious club career with Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion of England.

Abakaliki Defender’s former Ebonyi Angels FC James Onele said Kanu has delighted football fans around the world with sublime skills and trademark assists.

“Kanu won two African footballer of the year awards, a silver medal at the CAN; four CAN bronze medals among other distinctions.

“He was the first Nigerian, alongside Finidi George, to win the prestigious UEFA Champions League trophy with Ajax in 1995,” said Onele.

Arsenal FC supporter Ejike Okoro said club supporters were proud of Kanu’s achievements during his time with the English Premier League team.

“Kanu played 197 times for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals and was part of the club’s invincible squad which did not lose a game in the 2003-04 EPL season.

“He helped make Arsenal endearing to millions of Nigerian football fans, although he later moved on to low-rated clubs such as Portsmouth and West Bromwich Albion,” Okoro said.

Banker and football enthusiast Chef Barry Ogoh told active footballers to emulate Papillo by investing adequately for the “rainy day”.

“Kanu, Augustine JJ Okocha, among other ex-internationals, are still financially stable because many ex-internationals have gone bankrupt.

“Kanu remembered that there was life after retirement, despite his celebrity status being explored to the max,” Ogoh said.

Teacher and football enthusiast Ms. Nnenna Obi praised Kanu for her continued inspiration to young people who had put a lot on the path to stardom.

“I watched Kanu speak to young people at the #END SARS Summit, hosted by the Ebonyi State government in January, and was impressed with his inspirational speeches.

“Kanu advised young people to take their financial background into account in their activities and to engage positively for the good of society,” Obi said. (NAA)

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