Kanu Nwankwo, better known as ‘’Kanu or Papillo’’ from a popular TV ad, is a retired footballer, entrepreneur and a philanthropist.

Mr Kanu, most notably played for Ajax, Inter Milan, and the English Premier League Club sides; Arsenal FC, West Bromwich Albion and Portsmouth respectively. Kanu is regarded as one of the best players in African history, having won two African player of the year awards, BBC African Footballer of the year, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup, Eredivisie, Premier League, FA Cup, Community Shield and Olympic Gold Medallist amongst others.

Kanu, since his retirement from professional football, has started a couple of businesses which mostly circle around real estate. He owns a number of properties within Nigeria and across. 

He’s the founder of Kanu Heart Foundation, a foundation that helps children who suffer from heart defects and also provides aid for the homeless children. Despite facing a major career setback due to a heart defect, Kanu has often mentioned that his faith/prayers to God helped him throughout his career. 


  • Kanu Nwankwo was born on the 1 of August 1976 in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.
  • Kanu hails from Arochukwu in Abia state, Nigeria.
  • He began playing semi-professional football at the age of 15 in a local club side called Federation works before moving to a more established Iwuanyawu Nationale. His performance caught the eyes of the Nigerian Football Federation and Kanu was selected to represent his country at the under 17 FIFA World Championship, where his performance further got the attention of elite European clubs.
  • He also made his debut in the 1994 Champions League final against AC Milan in which his team won.
  • In 1996, after a series of heroic performance alongside players like Austin Jay-Jay Okocha and Daniel Amokachi with the Nigerian team that won the gold in the Olympic Gold in Atlanta.
  • In 1996, Kanu was named African footballer of the year.
  • Kanu was a member of the invincible, the Arsenal side that finished the 2003-2004 premier league season undefeated. Kanu has been voted by the fans as the 13th Gunners greatest 50 players.
  • Kanu was meanwhile a member of the Nigerian national team from 1994-2010, winning 87 caps and scoring 12 times for the country, until the 24th of June, 2010, when Kanu ended his International career, following Nigeria’s exit from the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Kanu is the second-joint most capped Nigeria player of time alongside Muda, behind Joseph Yobo, who is currently the most capped Nigerian player.
  • Kanu club career includes playing for club sides in Nigeria, Netherlands, Italy and England, capping a total number of 533 apps and bagging 121 goals.
  • Kanu is a UNICEF Ambassador and has the Nigeria National Award of the Officer of the Order of Nigeria (OON).
  • He is the owner of Kanu sports TV, an internet sports television which positions to be the first indigenous sports TV in Nigeria.
  • Kanu is happily married to his wife Amarachi in 2004, and the couple is blessed with 3 children, two boys, Iyang Onyekachi Kanu and Sean Chukwudi Kanu, and then a girl; Pinky Amarachi Kanu.



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