Kanu Details How Playing in AFCON for Nigeria Affected His Game Time at Arsenal

Kanu Details How Playing in AFCON for Nigeria Affected His Game Time at Arsenal

Chukwu Ikechukwu
updated at December 21, 2023 at 1:37 PM
In this article:
N. Kanu
-FNigeria logo
CAF Africa Cup of Nations logo
  • Nwankwo Kanu feels playing in AFCON can have consequences for players
  • Kanu was a member of the Nigerian national team between 1994 and 2010
  • The ex-Arsenal forward made 86 caps for the Super Eagles before retiring

Nwakwo Kanu has explained how his participation in the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations negatively affected his game time during Arsenal's record Premier League 'Invincibles' season.

The former Super Eagles striker, who was a member of Nigeria's national team between 1994 and 2010, was part of Arsene Wenger’s incredible team that won the 2003/04 Premier League campaign without losing a single game.

Nwankwo Kanu, Arsenal, Nigeria, AFCON, Africa Cup of Nations
Nigerian legend, Nwankwo Kanu won two Premier League titles with Arsenal before leaving the London club. Photo by Etsuo Hara.
Source: Getty Images

According to All Nigeria Soccer, Kanu - in a recent interview - disclosed that participating in the 2004 AFCON tournament made it difficult for him to get back into the Arsenal squad.

"It was difficult, because in a squad of so many good players, when you lose your place, it's hard to get it back. Obviously, Arsenal did very well while I was away, so it was hard for me to get into the team again after going away."

Kanu would eventually leave the Gunners at the end of that season after only making a total of 10 Premier League appearances.

Dissecting Nwankwo Kanu’s AFCON records

Meanwhile, Kanu remains one of the few African legends who failed to win the Africa Cup of Nations during their playing career despite featuring in five tournaments.

According to Wikipedia, the former Arsenal striker was part of the Super Eagles team that lost the 2000 final to Cameroon, the only time he featured in an AFCON final for Nigeria.

Kanu also won four AFCON bronze medals throughout the duration of his career with the national team as the Super Eagles finished in third place in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008.

Kanu named as Enyimba chairman

Sports Brief also previously reported on the confirmation of Kanuhe as Enyimba FC's new chairman, replacing Felix Anyansi-Agwu at the helm.

Anyansi-Agwu is the club's most successful chairman considering he won nine League titles and two CAF Champions League during his reign.

Many former Super Eagles players like Obinna Nsofor, Dele Aiyenugba, and Vincent Enyeama played under the former chairman at Enyimba FC.

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Chukwu Ikechukwu
Chukwu Ikechukwu Godwin is a journalist with over 9 years of experience in the Nigerian media industry. He has worked both in Radio (Today FM, Rhythm FM, Wish FM) and Television (Silverbird TV) as a Sports Analyst..