Lagos, Feb. 10, 2016 (NAN) Nigerians on Wednesday said that former international, Nwankwo Kanu’s elevation to the top 48 football legends worldwide should be an encouragement to young African footballers.
The International Federation of Football History and Statistics (IFFHS) had on Sunday named Kanu in its Hall Fame.
The sports aficionados told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were delighted to have a Nigerian listed in the said category, not that Kanu deserved it.
A banker and Chelsea FC of England fan, Sampson Okafor, said that Nigerians always give their best in any sport they got involved in and deserved the best of awards when opportunities arose.
“We are recognised in sports all over the world because of our dedication and zeal to get the best out of it.
“I can mention other Nigerian footballers that are qualified for the same award but may be IFFHS requires one legend per country else the likes of Jay-Jay Austen Okocha should be included.
“Certainly, it is an encouragement to young African players to give their best to the game and not just for instant recognition and gratification but for long lasting impact,’’ he said.
Adebayo Olusola, a fourth year law student at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said the records set by Kanu all through his football career were unbeatable and worthy of emulation.
According to him, Kanu gave his best in matches played by his clubs or country at the time he played in spite of his heart condition.
“In the few years that I have watched football, the efforts of a player is always rewarded in one way or the other and that is what has given Kanu the privilege.
“Our players have become more money conscious than putting the work in to achieve results at any level they find themselves.
“It is even worse with players that are very skillful since they end up not focusing on the real essence of playing but on the remunerations.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
Also, a civil servant, Michael Ezechie, said that the newly selected legends had created marks in the world of football and deserved to be honoured.
“Kanu is is a legend for various reasons, including the fact that he is the most decorated Nigerian football player till date.
“He suffered a terrible heart condition between 1996 and 1997 but came out of it and played much more better than ever,’’ he said.
NAN reports that Kanu made his first mark at the 1993 U-17 World Cup in Japan and went on to play for AJAX FC in Holland, AC Milan of Italy, Arsenal of England and others.
In 1996 Kanu captained the Nigerian team that won the gold medal at the U.S.A. Olympics and was also named the African footballer of the year that same year, a title he was honoured with twice. (NAN)