Kanu Nwankwo was a manner of Arsenal’s Invincible squad, winning the English Premier League in the 2003/2004 season by going unbeaten.
Former Super Eagles striker, Nwankwo Kanu, has explained that he played most of Arsenal’s games in the invincible season on the bench because of the AFCON tournament, Soccernet.ng reports.
Kanu, 47, enjoyed a stellar footballing career in Europe. He played for Internazionale, Ajax, Arsenal, Portsmouth and West Brom, winning the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the English Premier League twice, and the UEFA Super Cup.
Speaking recently with Arsenal in a recap of the record breaking 2003/2004 Premier League season where the Gunners won the league without losing a single game, Kanu highlighted that his decision to play for the Super Eagles during the AFCON tournament cost him a place in the team.
Prior to the start of the tournament in 2004, Kanu had featured in nine games for Arsene Wenger’s side, but when he returned, he could only garner twenty-nine Premier League minutes under his belt.
“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. Sometimes it worked the other way. When you go away sometimes, they need you back in the team or need to change things, but that season, they didn’t need to change anything,” the 1.97m tall forward told Arsenal’s official website.
Nigeria ended third place in the AFCON 2004 tournament, beating Mali 2-1 to secure a bronze medal, but Papilo already lost his spot in the first team. He moved on to West Bromwich Albion the following season.
Kanu went on to score fifty-four goals and record twenty-nine assists in 273 Premier League games.