Nigerian Football Legend Kanu Nwankwo to host a charity match in London

​​Arsenal and Super Eagles legend, Kanu Nwankwo, also regarded as one of the best players in African football history, has announced a star-studded charity football match in London in support of the Kanu Heart Foundation, which aims to build a new cardiac centre in Nigeria. Kanu Nwankwo will be hosting the one-off game with a line-up of football legends some of whom are yet to be announced. Notable international football stars including Jay-Jay Okocha, Teddy Sheringham, Sol Campbell, Lauren and Robert Pirès, will play in the match between the Premier League All Stars team and the Africa All-Stars teams.

“Since retiring from football, the Kanu Heart Foundation has been my biggest passion,” Kanu told 90min. “It is amazing to be in a position to have helped over 500 children within and outside Nigeria gain access to vital heart operations, having suffered from heart conditions myself – but I want to do more.

“The Petrolex Kanu Cup in association with Masters Football is an opportunity to bring people together to see some amazing players – and my great friends – play the beautiful game once more, whilst also raising money for a good cause. I cannot wait to share the full teams and for the game to kick off!”

Nwankwo Kanu, left, is looking forward to the Africa Cup of Nations. Photograph: Radu Sigheti/Reuters

The Kanu Heart Foundation is a charity organisation set up by the Nigerian football legend, Kanu Nwankwo on 21 July, 2000, to help underprivileged African children and young adults with different heart ailments obtain the cardiac surgical operations. 

The retired 42-year-old’s illustrious career, polished with an Olympic gold medal, a UEFA Champions League winners medal, two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, as well as twice being named African Player of the Year, was threatened by heart issues which included major surgery to replace an aortic valve in 1996. According to AOI Football, the charity match aims to raise $35 million to build a new cardiac centre in Abuja, Nigeria, as well as reduce travel and accommodation costs for sick children and their families.  The foundation has already helped over 500 children.

Tagged the Petrolex Kanu Cup, after Nigeria’s oil & gas firm, Petrolex, which has partnered with Kanu Heart Foundation as title sponsor, the Premier League stars will be drawn from teams Nwankwo played for during his career in the UK-Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth, while the African All Stars will include many of the African players who played alongside Kanu or against him.

The match has been slated for 30 September at the Barnet FC’s ground, The Hive Stadium. Meanwhile,  tickets are available here.