Monday, October 22, 2012

Q&A with Nigerian football legend Kanu Nwankwo

What is the latest about the now popular Kanu Heart Foundation?

The Kanu Nwankwo Heart Foundation is doing great. We are trying to raise funds for that is what the foundation needs to achieve its set goals. I want to build a heart hospital in Nigeria. It is not going to be easy. Right as I am talking to you, we are waiting on the Federal government to confirm a date for us to do the launching because we want them to be involved. We are trying to see how we can help our people.

You also have an ongoing bonanza in which a car is up for grabs. How successful is the exercise?
Yeah people who know about it are responding. They are doing but it is not really hundred percent the way we want it. We want to create more awareness. You the media should help us spread the message. It is still going on. But like I said, the major target now is to have the launch and then build the hospital.
Most people now talk about Kanu Heart Foundation in all heart related problems. How does this make you feel?
If you are doing a good job for a good cause, it speaks for itself. The foundation is there to help people. There are a lot of people who do not know the symptoms. So we have to let them know. It is not every sickness that is malaria or typhoid. That's the big problem with us in Nigeria. Whenever we are suffering from any ailment, it is either typhoid or malaria. The heart problem is a big one. This is where I have to play my part to make sure that I educate people in Nigeria and the world so that I can help others.
Should this be considered to be Kanu's contribution to humanity?
Definitely. I am UNICEF ambassador so I have a lot to contribute. So far as I am breathing and alive, I would use my name, my fame and who am I to help others. Not only in health, in sports, not only football, but all other sports. In fact any avenue I can create to help others, definitely I will.
What is your take on the comprehensive victory the Eagles have just recorded against the Lone Star of Liberia?
That's all we have been waiting and looking for. A good performance like what we have just witnessed is what Nigerians want to see. I came on Thursday and I spoke to the boys. The coaches are doing a great job. The Federation is doing a great job. We, which is me and you and others have to believe in this team and support them hundred percent. We do not have to be panicking. They are very good players. They are rebuilding and we have to support them. We have to be behind them. What happened is what everybody wants to see. Football at the highest level, good football, skills and entertainment and then we qualify. It is good for the country. So what we have to do is to pray for them, put the team together, make sure that we have enough time to prepare. You don't have to go and sleep that we have beaten Liberia.
Looking at the talents you are talking about, how far do you think we can go in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa?
Like I said we have to believe in ourselves. I believe that we are going to do well in the nation's Cup. In anything you do you have to prepare very well or u cannot achieve anything. For me this is the time for the federation to sit up, the coaches to sit up and all Nigerians to sit up. We do not have to wait until when we are in South Africa, we start murmuring and talking and such stuffs. We have to push them now. Let them start immediate preparations.
Most Nigerians will like to know if Kanu Nwankwo is still playing active football. Is kanu still playing actively?
If you look at me you will tell. If I am playing you can tell. Do I look like someone who is still playing football?.
But you look fit.....
Do I look fit? (Laughing) which is to say my position in the national team is still there. I can come and train for a shirt. (Laughs).
Whenever you are watching the Eagles, do you have moments you feel you could have done better?
That's life. You can't play football forever but you know your quality and what you can do and when you see things like that you wish you were still there to do it better but you can't and that's life. It comes stage by stage. Now I am not there but I have to perform other duties. I am an ambassador I have to encourage them, motivate them, tell them things that will make them feel good and perform better.
You made a name playing for Arsenal. Do you still follow the club with passion?
Definitely. I follow the club. I wish they are going to win the league but all the same you have top teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City. Well, this is just the beginning. After December you can then say who is going to win the English Premier League.

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