Nwankwo Kanu is con­firmed a hero in Is­rael and Africa — as well as Portsmouth

The Jewish Chronicle - - PEOPLE -

NIGE­RIAN FOOT­BALL star Nwankwo Kanu has had quite a week. Just two days af­ter scor­ing Portsmouth’s win­ning goal in last Satur­day’s FA Cup fi­nal vic­tory over Cardiff, Kanu was back on the pitch rais­ing funds for the Kanu Heart Foun­da­tion, a char­ity that helps send African chil­dren to Is­rael for life­sav­ing heart op­er­a­tions.

Launched in 2000 by Kanu — whose own ca­reer was saved by heart surgery — the char­ity pays for chil­dren with heart prob­lems to un­dergo surgery over­seas, no­tably at the Wolf­son Med­i­cal Cen­tre in Tel Aviv. Such a pro­gramme is spon­sored by Is­raeli vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tion Save a Child’s Heart, which houses the chil­dren be­fore and af­ter their op­er­a­tion. Kanu, 31, tells Peo­ple: “Life im­me­di­ately af­ter surgery was the most chal­leng­ing time for me. I prayed a lot and con­tin­u­ally thanked God. I be­lieve in prayer and the power of prayer and I looked to God for di­rec­tion.”

The Kanu Heart Foun­da­tion be­gan by send­ing chil­dren to Lon­don’s Great Or­mond Street Hospi­tal, but in or­der to pro­vide more chil­dren with the help they need, the char­ity turned to Is­rael and In­dia. Ear­lier this month, the 300th child was op­er­ated on. Kanu says he is hop­ing to build hos­pi­tals in Africa. “How­ever, we have a long wait­ing list, so when we raise funds, we do not usu­ally keep the money for the build­ing pro­gramme, be­cause peo­ple on the wait­ing list may die.”

Mon­day’s char­ity match be­tween Friends of Kanu — man­aged by exArse­nal cap­tain Tony Adams — and a Port- smouth XI, man­aged by Portsmouth boss Harry Red­knapp, took place at Frat­ton Park. Lo­mana Lualua, Emmanuel Ade­bayor and An­ton Ferdinand were among those who played. www.kanu­heart foun­da­tion.co.uk

Portsmouth’s NwankwoKanu cel­e­brates his FA Cup


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