Kanu: Saving lives beats Pompey FA Cup triumph

Kanu and Harry Redknapp celebrate Pompey's 2008 FA Cup triumph
Kanu and Harry Redknapp celebrate Pompey's 2008 FA Cup triumph
Conor Chaplin could start againsyt Plymouth. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Fratton Park legend Kanu has admitted saving lives means more to him than Pompey’s FA Cup triumph in 2008.

The former Nigeria international set up the Kanu Heart Foundation to help children from his native country and other African nations living with different heart conditions to obtain the cardiac surgical operations needed.

The 40-year-old underwent heart surgery in 1996 to replace an aortic valve before going under the knife again in 2014. Kanu now aims to build a heart hospital in Abuja, Nigeria.

He then wants to expand his cause across the continent.

The striker won a wealth of trophies during his playing career, including a European Cup and three Dutch titles with Ajax, two Premier League titles at Arsenal and a UEFA Cup with Inter Milan.

He was also Pompey’s FA Cup hero in the 2008 final against Cardiff City at Wembley.

Kanu’s 37th-minute strike was the only goal of the game as the Blues lifted the trophy for the first time since 1939.

He also bagged the crucial goal in Harry Redknapp’s side’s 1-0 victory against West Bromwich Albion in the semi-final.

Despite all of his glory, though. Kanu revealed he gets more satisfaction from helping save children’s lives than he did hoisting silverware towards the heavens.

He said: ‘It is a wonderful feeling – it’s one that you cannot really describe.

‘It’s always nice when people come up to you to say “thank you”.

‘You ask them why and they say it’s because they are one of the beneficiaries of the Kanu Heart Foundation.

‘It means a lot to me. It means more than winning trophies.

‘Winning trophies is a good feeling but saving lives is more than that.

‘That’s why all of us have to come together to make society a better place for all of us to live.’