Nigeria legend Nwankwo Kanu to bow out of football on June 11

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Nwankwo Kanu, Arsenal (Getty Images)

After almost two decades of top-flight football, Nigeria’s Nwankwo Kanu will take a bow from the sport on Saturday, June 11 with a testimonial match in Lagos.

Kanu is his country’s most decorated footballer ever. He won two CAF African best player awards in 1996 and 1999 and scored 13 goals for the Super Eagles in 86 appearances. 

Football stars Samuel Eto’o, Emmanuel Adebayor, Michael Essien, John Pantsil, Siphiwe Tshabalala, Emmanuel Eboue and Alex Song are all expected to turn up for the game. Likewise, legends George Weah, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Lucas Radebe, Roberto Solano and Rigobert Song will all play in a Friends of Kanu team against the Super Eagles All-Stars.

Kanu came to limelight with his triumph at the Japan 1993 U17 World Championship. He was second highest scorer behind compatriot Wilson Oruma in that tournament.

He moved to Holland where he won the Uefa Champions League and three Eredivisie titles with Ajax in 1995 before leading Nigeria to Olympic gold at Atlanta 1996. Afterwards, he was diagnosed with a life threatening heart condition when he moved to Inter but recovered to win the Uefa Cup in 1998. In 1999, Kanu made his move to Arsenal where he won two Premier League trophies and two FA Cups.

Kanu won his last major trophy, the FA Cup, with Portsmouth in 2008 where he scored the winning goal against Cardiff City.

Kanu has put a lot of effort into charity work since he recovered from the heart disease and is looking to build a heart hospital in Nigeria with proceeds from the testimonial.

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