The Kanu Heart Foundation, set up in 2000 to help under-privileged children across Africa with heart problems, has carried out 542 operations to date
NWANKWO KANU is one of Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’ and won lots of silverware in his glittering career.
But the work he is doing saving lives with his heart charity today means more to him than any trophy.
The Gunners cult hero, who celebrated his 42nd birthday on Wednesday, has undergone open-heart surgery twice.
He set up The Kanu Heart Foundation in 2000 to help under-privileged children across Africa with heart problems which has carried out 542 operations to date.
The three-time FA Cup winner told SunSport: “For me, one life being saved means more than winning trophies.
“Trophies are good, you work hard for them, but you have them, hold them and then they are gone. But life, when it stops, that is the end.”
The first time Kanu had surgery was in 1996 having just joined Inter Milan when doctors told him he would never play again.
It came as a complete shock as he felt at the peak of his powers both physically and technically, having helped Nigeria to a gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics.
He recalled: “I was on top of the world. I had played the 90 minutes of every game at the Olympics and nothing was stopping me.
“I didn’t have any symptom or sign. No tiredness or coughing. When I signed for Inter Milan, I played two friendly games and then the third one, they said I couldn’t play. I had to wait.