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My Arsenal Success Helped Other African Footballers – Ex-Nigeria’s Player, Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu has said his success at Arsenal opened the doors for more African footballers to play in the English Premier League.

The former Nigeria striker joined the Gunners in 1999 and scored 44 goals in 198 matches, helping the club to lift two Premier League trophies and two FA Cups during his five-year spell at the club.

Kanu, who is popularly called Papillo, signed for Arsenal on February 18, 1999. His 17th anniversary of joining the club would be celebrated on Thursday.

The 39-year-old told Arsenal.com that his joining the club led many people to follow the Premier League.

He said, “I believe I was the first (African) person who came to England and did very well. After that the doors opened for African talents so, with Arsenal behind me and what we did with Arsenal, everybody now tends to follow the English league.

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“When I came over I saw a good coach who saw the best in me. I was a good player because he made it easier for me to play.

“Everybody believes that English football is all about playing the ball up, not keeping it on the ground, but Arsène has his own idea of football and it made it easier for us. He wanted us to play football the right way, he wanted us to enjoy it by passing the ball around and that’s what we did.

“It was very easy to adjust when you saw the fans. The supporters are behind you and they love you and what you are doing and that means you have to do more. If you keep doing more, they keep loving you and it was very easy for them to adopt me.

“I had the skills and the tricks the fans really love. When I left Arsenal I still had the fans on my mind and since then I’ve been supporting the club.”

Punch

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Written by PH

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