A legend on the pitch and off it, Nwankwo Kanu has traded in trophies with the Gunners for saving lives back in Africa.

Last seen in an Arsenal shirt scoring a hat-trick for the Arsenal legends, Kanu has been hard at work raising funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation ever since his retirement from his professional career.

As someone who went through heart surgery himself in 1996, Kanu’s main aim is to try and tackle similar cardiac-related issues amongst the people of Africa. He told the BBC last year that the dream was to build a hospital in five African countries.

At the moment, they have to fly children to India to get treatment, which, when you include flight costs and accommodation and so on, costs about four times more than treating the same child in their own country.

According to The Sun‘s report, their foundation has nonetheless helped with 542 heart operations in four different countries. If they can get the funding to build the hospitals, this number could be much more. The problem is that right now they don’t have it.

Charity match

To try and combat that issue, Kanu’s holding a charity match at Barnet’s The Hive, featuring players like Sol Campbell, Robert Pires and himself. The ‘Petrolex Kanu Cup 2018’ takes place on September 30th.

In his five years with Arsenal, Kanu scored 43 goals, won two Premier League titles, two FA Cups and a Community Shield, but he says that for him, saving lives is more important.

“For me, one life being saved means more than winning trophies,” he told The Sun. “Trophies are good, you work hard for them, but you have them, hold them and then they are gone. But life, when it stops, that is the end.

“If I can do one operation in a year, it means we’ve given back to society.”

The two-time African footballer of the year has had plenty of success in football, let’s hope he’s just as successful in raising the funds to save more lives.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.