The Oasis Reporters
August 16, 2019
Former Arsenal player, Kanu Nwankwo has been announced as Senior Special Assistant on Sports to the Imo state governor, Emeka Ihedioha.
Kanu Nwankwo was once Nigeria’s national football team captain and had also captained the intermediate team, the Flying Eagles, leading them to beat the Brazilian team, 4-3, from a 3-0 goal deficit, with Kanu Nwankwo netting in the last two goals in breathtaking fashion that gave Nigeria victory.
The announcement was contained in a statement issued by Izuchukwu Akwarandu, new media aide to the governor.
The statement reads; “The governor, Emeka Ihedioha, received one of the country’s football legends, Kanu Nwankwo, at the Government House, Owerri, on August 14, 2019.”
“Papilo, as fondly called by his fans, came to present his most recent CAF award, which was given to him at the just concluded Nations Cup in Egypt, to the sports-loving governor of Imo State. The star also presented a branded jersey to the governor.”
“The governor while welcoming the former Super Eagles goal poacher, announced Kanu Nwankwo as his Senior Special Assistant on Sports.”
It will be recalled that the former Nigeria captain first had heart surgery in November 1996 to correct a faulty aortic valve.
After a year out, he returned to action for Inter Milan and in February 1999 joined Premier League side Arsenal.
The experience if the heart surgery that no one, including himself foresaw, prompted him to set up the Kanu Nwankwo Foundation in 2000 to build five hospitals in Africa to treat undiagnosed heart disease and provide surgery. This was after his foundation had flown hundreds of underprivileged children across Africa with heart problems
around advanced countries for all expenses paid free heart surgery, irrespective of gender, tribe or religion.
The Nigerian government was later to name Kanu Nwankwo, among the 100 most distinguished Nigerians during a ceremony to mark the centenary of the unification of north and south Nigeria in 2014.
He also underwent corrective heart surgery in 2014, after his annual medical check.
Kanu announced his retirement from international football at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
His international success includes a FIFA under-17 World Cup title in 1993 and the 1996 Olympic football gold medal.
Kanu’s individual honours include African Footballer of the Year awards in 1996 and 1999.
Joining the Emeka Ihedioha team in Imo State is bound to generate enormous goodwill from the international community because Kanu Nwankwo is an international sports icon, well appreciated for using his personal fortune to help the less privileged and humanity at large. He knows how to give back to society.