Kanu at Enyimba: What Super Eagles legend’s arrival could mean for Nigeria

Kanu at Enyimba: What Super Eagles legend’s arrival could mean for Nigeria
Credit: @papilokanu

Kanu Nwankwo has been appointed as the new chairman of Enyimba by the Abia State Government to bring an end to the 24-year-old reign of the experienced proprietor and vice-president of the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Felix Anyansi-Agwu.

The outgoing Anyansi-Agwu oversaw a remarkable turnaround for the People's Elephant. He took the reins when the club was primarily unknown but they became Nigeria's most successful and one of Africa's most feared teams during his 24-year tenure as chairman.

With Anyansi-Agwu as chairman, Enyimba emerged Nigeria Premier League (NPL) champions for a record nine times, the most by any team in the country's top flight. He played an essential role as the team won back-to-back CAF Champions League titles in 2003 and 2004.

But as the saying goes, ‘there's time for everything, and a season under the sun', his time as Enyimba chairman has ended with Kanu taking over to usher in a new era for the current NPL champions.

Interestingly, Kanu's appointment will see him reunite with his former teammate at Ajax, Finidi George, who's the current coach of Enyimba.

The ex-Super Eagles players won the UEFA Champions League title in 1995 with the Dutch giants, defeating AC Milan 1-0 at the Ernst-Happel Stadium in Vienna, Austria. Both players won a couple more titles together while at the club before moving on to find new challenges elsewhere.

Kanu began his professional football career with Iwuanyanwu Nationale (now Heartland) in the 1992/93 season after showing true potential while at the Holy Ghost College in Owerri and would later travel to Europe to further his career.

Kanu enjoyed a successful career playing for clubs like Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion, and Portsmouth, before he retired.

Kanu was part of the Nigeria team that reigned supreme in the AFCON finals in Tunisia, in 1994. Kanu captained Nigeria to an Olympic gold medal in Atlanta, in 1996, defeating Brazil in the final. And he won the African Player of the Year award twice, in 1996 and 1999, and is the last Nigerian to take home the award.

Kanu was also a member of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’, the Arsene Wenger-led side that went a whole season undefeated in the Premier League.

What Kanu Nwankwo's appointment means for Enyimba

Sources within Enyimba have said that the recent appointment of Kanu as the new chairman has seen Anyansi-Agwu making every effort to retain his position.

At the time of writing, the reasons behind this decision are unknown. However, the players and officials of Enyimba are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Super Eagles legend and are excited about the prospects of working under his leadership.

As new chairman of the club, Kanu will hope to work in unison with his ex-teammate Finidi and together lead Enyimba to a successful outing in the 2023/24 CAF Champions League, as well as winning the Nigeria Premier League 2023/24 for the tenth time.

Nwankwo Kanu

What Kanu Nwankwo's appointment means for the Nigerian league

As chairman of Enyimba, Kanu has a big shoe to fill. Nevertheless, with his experience as a football player, ambassador of Nigerian football and UNICEF goodwill ambassador, his appointment will bring about improvements in the league.

As African brand ambassador for digital TV operator StarTimes, and owner of Kanu Sports TV, an online sports TV company, we believe Kanu will work to see that the Nigerian league gets more coverage while as chairman of Enyimba.

Frequently Asked Questions about Kanu Nwankwo

What nickname is Kanu Nwankwo popularly called?

He's popularly called Papilo.

What's Kanu Nwankwo's state of origin?

Kanu hails from Imo State (Eastern Nigeria).

How old is Kanu Nwankwo?

Born on 1 August 1976, Kanu will be 47 years old in 2023.

What are the notable awards won by Kanu Nwankwo?

Amongst Kanu's awards are two African Footballer of the Year awards (1996 & 1999) and two BBC African Footballer of the Year awards (1997 & 1999).

What is Kanu Nwankwo's Net Worth?

Kanu Nwankwo's net worth is estimated to be around £7.49m. The former Super Eagles star has a host of investments, especially in Real Estate.

This article was most recently revised and updated 10 months ago

Joseph is a graduate engineer turned sports writer, he has covered lots of sports stories, match previews and predictions across various leagues on the planet.