Gold-hearted Kanu assisting African victims
the NFF board, led by Pinnick, and claimant to the same post, Giwa, to await further directives on when judgment would be delivered on the leadership tussle instituted by the Jos-based Giwa.
But while NFF board members are baffled as to how the matter came before the courts while they were not even aware of the developments, the situation in neighbouring Sierra Leone has reached a point of no return with a ban from Fifa imminent.
The crisis in Freetown deepened after the annual congress of the country’s football governing body led by Isha Johansen scheduled for today to pave the way for elections next month - was suspended by Fifa.
The term of office of the current Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) comes to an end on August 3. Fifa say the congress is postponed indefinitely until a task force can be sent to Freetown to sort out issues at the SLFA relating to integrity checks.
“The implementation of integrity checks to current, and potential SLFA executive members have not been carried out. Judicial Cambiasso, he had attended the Fifa Under-17 World Cup draw, Kanu said Africans need to come together to address this huge problem afflicting African players across the continent.
Kanu, who battled a heart problem during his own glittering career, said the recent death of another Ivorian, Cheick Tiote, was supposed to have been a “wakeup call to all Africans to act over the problem, but evidently we are displaying a passive attitude towards this growing problem”.
Tiote, 30, collapsed during bodies and administrative officials registered under the SLFA must also undergo an integrity scrutiny,” read a statement from Fifa.
SLFA spokesman Ibrahim Kamara said they are bound to comply with the Fifa directives. However, Minister of Sport Ahmed Khanou was not amused and launched a scathing attack on the SLFA as well as Fifa.
“I’m shocked, devastated and disappointed at Fifa as I was supposed to have been the first port of call as moral guarantor,” Khanou said. “I’m surprised because as moral guarantor I didn’t send any complaint to Fifa and neither am I aware of any complaint by the SLFA.
“Sierra Leone is a sovereign state and should not be held to ransom. The congress must go on as planned. I’ve requested the SLFA to send me a copy of the Fifa letter since I was not copied in, and I’ll take it to my boss State President Ernest Koroma and government will then come out with a position.”
The leader of the aggrieved members of the SLFA, Idrissa Tarawally, says Fifa do not have the right to stop the congress. a training session for his then Chinese club Beijing Enterprises and was certified dead shortly afterwards.
“I’m talking to friends so we can do something to create awareness to try to help children in Africa,” Kanu said.
“Tiote’s death was not good news. It’s not the first time it is happening. We lost Marc-Vivien Foe. He died and nothing was done. Tiote is gone and nothing is being done. How many more must die before we wake up as Africans and start doing something?”
Kanu was sidelined for nine months just after winning Olympic gold in 1996 when doctors at his Italian club Inter Milan’s found a heart defect. He was allowed to resume his career after a successful operation in Ohio in the US.
The 40-year-old, who also played for Ajax Amsterdam and Portsmouth, is planning to build a $17 million cardiac hospital in Abuja, Nigeria. He also wants to build similar hospitals in east, north and southern Africa.
After surviving the disease following a successful operation, he established the Kanu Heart Foundation in Nigeria and the facility has overseen 538 successful operations in England, India, Nigeria and Israel.
“Our dream is to build a hospital in Nigeria and four others in Africa. Funds have been the issue but if we can make it happen, it’s going to help a lot as right now we are taking the kids to India and it costs a lot.”
To raise funds for the project Kanu is bringing together former teammates for charity matches in Lagos and Johannesburg later this year.