Passion is what you so desires and will do absolutely anything in the world to attain or do. It goes beyond the normal wish and dreams, in fact, while those two above something which requires no effort, passion requires all effort.
The truth remains the truth regardless of how we tell it. So to cut the long story short, this write-up is about a man whose body and soul embraces football but his heart disagrees with him. Well, his heart literally did fail to agree with him and it even almost cost him his life. Let's talk about the man from the scratch.
He is a man which is easily noticeable wherever he enters due to his height and he goes by the name Kanu. He started his professional football career playing for a football league in Nigeria.
he represented Nigeria in the under 17 tournament where Nigeria struck gold in 1993. he later Captained the Nigeria team in the Atlanta Olympics football tournament where Nigeria struck gold once more. He was among the stars of the tournament and Nigeria proved to handful against teams such as Argentina who comprises stars such as Crespo, Batistuta and Saviola.
Nigeria themselves were not lacking superstars as the likes of Kanu, Celestine Babayaro (Chelsea ex-player), Siasia and a whole lots of excellent players who ended up as legends for the Nigeria football team. Almost forgot that we beat a Brazilian team containing Carlos, Dida, Ronaldo and the rest.
Kanu was one of the Nigeria superstars who light up the tournament in 1996 but yet tragedy struck when his heart tried to stop him from actualizing his passion. he was diagnosed with heart disease right after the tournament at his new club inter Milan. He as not even played a single match of football for them as he was newly signed by Inter Milan from Ajax.
This occurrence resulted in a legal battle between Inter Milan and Ajax as Inter sued Ajax. Although Inter saw that his treatment was taken care of as the then president of Inter Milan felt sorry for Kanu on a human level. The heart disease was a rare one and his playing football probability hangs on a scale of 50-50
They were doubts about whether he will continue playing the game he loves even if the surgery went well. His passion was fast fading in his eyes and he could sense that. The heart surgery was successful but the doctors advised him not to play football for a year. he took the advice and didn't play any football till 1997
Even at his return, Inter were scared of using him and during his three contracts, he played just Twelve games and scored just one goal in the process. He was signed by Arsenal in 1999 and it was at this club he got his swagger back. Although he didn't reach the height he could have attained but played to the best of his ability.
Arsenal was conscious of the way they use him but he still went ahead to play so many games for them. his goal scoring ability was top-notch at that time and he was among the Gunners team who went a whole season unbeaten in the English league. His best moment in the gunners' shirt was scoring a fifteen-minute hat-trick against Chelsea to overturn a 2-0 result to 3-2 in favour of Arsenal.
Despite his heart conditions, Kanu didn't let that kill his dreams and passion, he played the rest of his club career in England with clubs such as West Brom and then Portsmouth. he played professional football for 20 years after his heart surgery and his total years is a professional footballer was 25 years.
As a footballer, nothing beats making a mark and despite the unforeseen circumstances that he battled personally, he made his mark in football before retiring in 2012 at age 35 years. he won titles as in his U17 career with Nigeria, captained Nigeria to their first Gold in the Olympic tournament in Atlanta 1996, won the champions league with Ajax and Uefa champions league with Inter Milan.
He didn't win the world cup or the nations cup with Nigeria but of course, his influence on the team was tremendous. at age twenty captaining Nigeria in the Olympics was more than he could for. Although he didn't enjoy much success in the international scene, his trophy cabinet in his club career was more than a handful.
Wining domestic Titles with Ajax, Arsenal and even with Portsmouth. He also won the best player on the Africa continent on two occasions, the first was when he was 20 years in 1996 and the other was when he was 23 in 1999. His contribution to football saw him win 3 Dutch champions titles, one champions league, one intercontinental cup, I UEFA super cup and one Dutch super cup with Ajax. He won the UEFA Cup with Inter in the 1997/1998 season. He also won 2 English premier league title, 2 fa cups, and one English super cup with Arsenal. He won a FA up with Portsmouth FC too during his illustrious 25 years football career.
He didn't play as much game as he would have wished to play but he ended up playing 514 club games although half came as a substitute. He still ended up scoring 110 goals while making 58 goals contribution in the process.
His battle with heart diseases prompted him to establish a Kanu Heart foundations and this establishment was tasked with helping predominantly young African children who suffer heart defects. he didn't stop right their as he also expanded his work to providing aid to homeless children.
Kanu story is not just one that gives hope to the hopeless or just a ray of light in the darkness but it also a story that gives one drives to look beyond one predicament. A setback isn't enough reason to give up on a dream