AMAZING! NWANKWO KANU IN SWEDISH CONNECTION

AMAZING! NWANKWO KANU IN SWEDISH CONNECTION

BY KUNLE SOLAJA

It is 26 years today (5 May) that African football legend, Nwankwo Kanu made his debut for the Super Eagles. It was in a 1994 pre-World Cup warm up match against Sweden in Stockholm.

His international career therefore began with an encounter with Sweden and paradoxically, he also ended his career with the Super Eagles under a Swede coach, Lars Lagerbäck at the South Africa 2010 after Nigeria had been edged out by South Korea in Durban.

Nwankwo Kanu (left), gets a pep talk at the sideline from Sweden’s Lars Lagerbäck in what turned to be his last match for the Super Eagles

Kanu, a member of the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup winning Golden Eaglets played the entire 90 minutes of the 5 May 1994 match with Sweden. Although, he did not make 23-man shortlist for the 1994 World Cup, he went on to make great impact in global football.

Sweden connection as Nwankwo Kanu last played for Nigeria under Sweden coach, Lars Lagerbäck having played his first Super Eagles’ match against Sweden

Famously noted as the captain of the 1996 Olympic gold winning squad, he scored the equalizing goal as well as the winning goal against Brazil in the evergreen semi-final match.

Kanu went ahead to be FA Cup winner with Premiership clubs of Arsenal and Portsmouth as well as the UEFA Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam.  

He featured for Nigeria in three World Cup editions of 1998, 2002 and 2010. Overall, Kanu had 87 appearances for Nigeria. 

In his illustrious career, he had UEFA Champions League title as well as a medal in the Europa Cup and three FA Cup winners’ medals coupled with two African Footballer of the Year awards.

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