Monday, March 18, 2019

Pompey FA Cup win would trump the lot, admits Kanu

SoccerNews in English Premier League, FA Cup 12 May 2008

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Nwankwo Kanu can already boast to be the most decorated player ever to have emerged from African shores.

However, the Nigerian legend claims leading Portsmouth to victory over Cardiff City in this weekend's English FA Cup final would eclipse any of his previous winners' medals.

The veteran striker, bidding for the eleventh major honour of his remarkable career, said it was like living a dream.

“To be in the final again is a dream,” said the former Ajax and Arsenal forward.

“I am very happy because we all dreamt of reaching the final and now our dream is coming true.

“I have won a lot of things in my life but I am looking forward to it and winning would be special.

“I am proud of my medals but it is usually when you play in the biggest teams that you get them.

“Winning the FA Cup with Arsenal is expected but nobody expects it at Portsmouth.

“The Champions League is my biggest medal but because of the history and tradition the FA Cup means a lot to me.

“When you come to England the first thing you are told about is the FA Cup. Nobody can tell you what it means but once you start playing for the first time you know what it means.”

Kanu's impressive honours list includes the 1995 Champions League with Ajax and two Premier League titles and two previous FA Cup successes with Arsenal.

The 31-year-old says his passion for further silverware is fueled by memories of the heart defect which threatened to end his career before it had truly begun 12 years ago.

Kanu was advised by doctors he would never play again after undergoing life-saving surgery while at Inter Milan but has recovered to become Africa's most recognized star.

Kanu, nicknamed the King' by his fellow countrymen, says his brush with death means he will be free of fear when he leads Portsmouth out at Wembley in front of 90,000 expectant supporters.

“What I have been through is bigger than anything else that has happened in my football career,” he said.

“After being in surgery for four or five hours, nothing scares me in life anymore. Saturday is just two sets of players trying to win a match.”

Portsmouth have already beaten Premier League champions and Champions League finalists Manchester United during their run to the final. Harry Redknapp's side are clear favourites to beat Championship Cardiff, 19 places below the south coast side in the end of season tables.

Kanu, who scored the only goal in Portsmouth's 1-0 semi final victory over old club West Brom, said that the Cup run had been merited.

“We have done brilliantly to get to the final and winning at Manchester United was a special day.

“We know we cannot disappoint our supporters now. All we have achieved this season will mean nothing if we do not bring home the trophy to Portsmouth.

“Cardiff are the underdogs but we know we have a job to do and have to stay focused. Winning is the most important thing.”

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