HomeFamous CelebsNwankwo Kanu Age, Height, Personal Life, Career, and Net Worth

Nwankwo Kanu Age, Height, Personal Life, Career, and Net Worth

Kanu Nwankwo became famous as a Nigerian soccer player. He played for big teams in Europe like Ajax, Arsenal, Inter Milan, and Portsmouth. Even though he’s not playing anymore, he still helps the sport in many ways, both at home and around the world.

In the Premier League, he holds the record for the third-most substitute appearances ever, coming off the bench 118 times. Many people see him as one of the greatest African soccer players ever.

He’s not just a soccer star, though. He works with UNICEF as a Promoter of harmony and represents the African brand for StarTimes, a digital TV company. He also owns Kanu Sports TV, an online sports channel.

NameNwankwo Kanu
Nick NamePapilo/Kanu
Well-Known forMember of Nigeria National Team from 1994 to 2011

If you want to find out more about him, like how old he is, how tall he stands, where he comes from, how much he earns, who his romantic partner is, and what his life story is, along with details about his family, ethnicity, parents, siblings, nationality, religion, and other interesting stuff, just keep reading.

Early Life of Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu was born on August 1, 1976, in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. His parents were Susan Nwannediya Kanu and Dee Iheme Kanu Nwankwo. Sadly, his father passed away in 2007, and his mother in 2016. He grew up in Amannagwu village-Arochukwu in Abia State, alongside his younger brother, Christopher Ogbonna Kanu, who used to play football too. He also has stepbrothers named Anderson Kanu and Henry Kanu.

Date of Birth1 August 1976
Place of BirthOwerri, Imo State Nigeria
EthnicityBlack African
Father NameDee Iheme Kanu Nwankwo 
Mother NameSusan Nwannediya Kanu

Career Life of Kanu

Kanu Nwankwo has earned a lot of money because he was very good at playing soccer. He played soccer for Nigeria and also for big teams in Europe like Arsenal, Portsmouth, Ajax, and West Bromwich Albion. Now he doesn’t play anymore, but he has his own foundation called the Nwankwo Kanu Heart Foundation and also his own soccer club called Papilo Football Club.

Kanu initiated his profession at local club Federation Works before joining Iwuanyanwu Nationale. His impressive performance in Nigeria’s U-17 World Championship caught the attention of Dutch club AFC Ajax, where he signed in 1993. During his time at Ajax, he scored 25 goals in 54 games and played a significant role in their 1995 UEFA Champions League victory over AC Milan. Despite losing in the final the following year, Kanu played a full match and showcased his talent on the European stage.


In 1996, Ajax transferred Kanu to Inter Milan for about $4.7 million. During that summer, he led the Nigeria national team to victory at the Olympics and scored two crucial goals in the semi-finals against Brazil, securing a 4-3 win in extra time. Kanu’s outstanding performance earned him the title of African Footballer of the Year for that year.

After coming back from the Olympics, doctors at Inter found a serious heart problem during a checkup, which they thought might stop him from working as a footballer. Kanu had surgery in November to change a valve in his heart. He came back to his team in April 1997 after the surgery. Throughout this challenging period, Kanu relied on his Christian faith, often mentioning how he prayed for guidance.

Inspired by his own experience, Kanu established the Kanu Heart Foundation, dedicated to assisting young African children with heart defects. Over the years, the organization grew its efforts to help kids without homes, beginning in 2008.


In February 1999, Nwankwo Kanu joined Arsenal from Inter Milan for around £4.15 million. He first played against Sheffield United in the FA Cup, which was memorable. During the match, Kanu seized an opportunity when the goalkeeper kicked the ball out of play for an injured player. He quickly passed it to Marc Overmars, leading to a crucial goal for Arsenal. Despite controversy over this incident, Kanu’s career flourished at Arsenal. He gained fame for his knack of scoring crucial goals as a substitute, earning the admiration of fans with his trademark two-fingered salute. In 1999, Kanu was chosen as the best African football player for the second time. Throughout his time at Arsenal, he showcased his scoring prowess, notably scoring three in a row against Chelsea in just fifteen minutes. Despite his contributions, his appearances decreased over time due to the emergence of other strikers like Thierry Henry. Nonetheless, Kanu played a significant role in Arsenal’s success, winning the FA Cup in 2003 and being part of the legendary “Invincibles” team of 2003-2004. After leaving Arsenal in 2004, he joined West Bromwich Albion. In 2006, he scored in Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial match at Arsenal’s new Emirates Stadium, becoming one of the first to score there. Kanu remains a beloved figure among Arsenal fans, remembered for his contributions wearing the number 25 shirt.

International Career

Kanu played for the Nigeria national team from 1994 to 2011. He played his first game against Sweden and was a key player in Nigeria’s success at the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Championship, where they won the final against Ghana. He also earned a gold medal in the Olympics in 1996 by making the decisive goal against Brazil in the semi-final match. Kanu played in the FIFA World Cups of 1998 and 2002. He stopped playing for the national football team in 2010 after Nigeria was knocked out of the World Cup in South Africa. Kanu played in 86 matches and made 13 goals for Nigeria. In 2022, he was chosen as the greatest Nigerian soccer player ever, recognizing his immense contribution to Nigerian football.

Social Media Accounts


Twitter (X)


Height, Weight, Star Sign, Age, and Net Worth

Kanu will celebrate his 48th birthday on August 1st, 2024. He stands tall at 6.6 feet and weighs 80 kilograms. His astrological sign is Leo. Papilo’s estimated net worth is $9 million.

Age48 years (as of 2024)
Height6.6 feet
Star SignLeo
Net Worth$ 9M

Personal Life

Nwankwo Kanu is wedded to Amara Kanu in 2004. They share the joy of parenting three kids: two boys named Sean Chukwudi and Iyang Onyekachi, and a daughter named Pinky Amarachi Kanu.

Interesting Facts

  • Wife of Kanu loves staying fit, sharing her journey on social media, and she’s also written a book called “Healthy Living with Amaru Kanu.”
  • In the year 2000, he started the Nwankwo Kanu Heart Foundation. It’s a charity that assists underprivileged kids in getting open heart surgery and support after their treatment.
  • He runs Papilo FC, which is a football school in Owerri, Nigeria. Additionally, he works independently as a sports advisor.


Trophies won by Kanu Nwankwo’s

Nigerian Premier League1993,1994
Dutch Eredivisie1994,1995
Intercontinental Cup1996
Olympic Gold Medal1996
UEFA Cup1998
UEFA Champions League1999
African Cup of Nations1994,2000,2004
Premier League2002,2004

International Goals of Kanu Nwankwo’s 

FIFA World Cup6
Africa Cup of Nations12
FIFA Confederations Cup2
Olympic Games2
FIFA U-17 World Cup5
FIFA U-20 World Cup1

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Who is Kanu Nwankwo?

Kanu Nwankwo, often called Kanu or Papilo, used to be a Nigerian soccer player. He played at the front position. Many people think he’s one of the best African soccer players ever.

Q2. What teams did Kanu Nwankwo play for?

Kanu played for several top clubs during his career, including Ajax, Inter Milan, Arsenal, and Portsmouth. He also represented the Nigerian national team.

Q3. What are Kanu Nwankwo’s major achievements?

Kanu has won numerous titles throughout his career, including Olympic Gold (1996), UEFA Champions League (1999), Premier League titles with Arsenal (2002, 2004), and FA Cup titles with Arsenal (2002, 2003, 2005).

Q4. How many goals did Kanu Nwankwo score for Nigeria?

Kanu scored a total of 28 goals for the Nigerian national team in various international competitions, including FIFA World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, FIFA Confederations Cup, Olympic Games, FIFA U-17 World Cup, and FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Q5. What is Kanu Nwankwo’s current role in football?

After retiring from professional football, Kanu has been involved in philanthropic activities through his Kanu Heart Foundation. He also remains connected to football as a mentor, ambassador, and occasionally participates in charity matches.

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