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Tag: Nwankwo Kanu

rejected thrice, he refused to give up

Rejected thrice, he never gave up on his dreams


To be rejected and written off as not been good enough can be very devastating. Rejection comes in different shapes and sizes. Some rejections are minor, and may not pose any major hindrance to the individual progress in life. Unfortunately, some life-changing challenges come in the form of rejection. It takes a full dose of courage to recover from such rejection.

Susan Boyle

A talented songwriter and musical sensation Susan Boyle faced so many hurdles in the early stages of her beautiful career. She was once described as having a low Intelligent Quotient (IQ). She tried unsuccessfully to scale through several auditions, but she was never selected.

Her late mum however encouraged her to stay true to her dreams and give her dream one more push. She got inspired and entered for the 2008 edition of Britain’s Got Talent. That was the beginning of her amazing turnaround. Her rendition of “I dreamed a dream”, captivated the audience and over 10 million viewers that watched her perform. Her moment of success wiped away years of rejection.

Nwankwo Kanu was once rejected

Football Legend, Nwankwo Kanu was once rejected by national team selectors in  1991. At 1991 All African Games, he has decamped by then-coach James Peters because he was too skinny. Nigeria later won bronze. A year later he captained the football team to Atlanta 93. He never took his initial setback to heart but kept on improving his game. He later went on to win laurels for both club and country.

Victor Chiedozie Ojogho was rejected thrice

For  18 years old Victor Chiedozie, he faced rejection thrice. The first time was at a football camp. He shared his touching story: “It was in 2017, at the Abuja football college. I couldn’t make the team due to tribal sentiments. The coach said I wasn’t good enough. Two weeks after I left the academy, the players selected by the coach traveled to Italy for an FA Competition. I was a painful experience, but I had to move on

The Abia State-born footballer kept pushing on and never gave up. He was training so hard and just a few months later, another opportunity came. This time it was tagged “Tough  Season”. It was a football clinic held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

I traveled to the football clinic with my friend. We registered and started taking part in the drills and training sessions. When the list of selected players came out days later, my name was not there. Fortunately, my friend made the list and they traveled to Lagos,  for another 3 months camping. I did my best, but I never knew why I wasn’t selected”.

Another major setback Victor Chiedozie Ojogho experienced, came in 2018 when he was all set to travel to Europe for trials. Unfortunately, the entire plan was aborted when he couldn’t raise the funds for the trip (€3,000).

So often in life, some difficult roads do lead to beautiful destinations. Today, Victor has pitched his tent with Beautiful Strikers FC in Rivers State, Nigeria.  He’s still aiming higher even as he keeps training hard to achieve his dreams in life.

His dream is to play in Europe and make a success out of his career. Watching his high-intensity training sessions, and seeing the belief and determination on his face is a joy to behold.

Secret that kept him going

I couldn’t help but asked this passionate Chelsea supporter, the secret that has kept him going, despite these challenges.

Passion for the game. There’s something about passion that keeps you going. Sometimes you ask yourself if you can even play this game. So many players are better than you, but you keep pushing. 

You know this is who you are. You know this is what you want. You don’t allow anything to discourage you.  I have told myself, if I am ever going to get to the top, it’s by his grace and favor” 

Afro Asian Cup

Nigeria is crowned 1995 Afro Asian Cup Champions

The Afro Asian Cup was a tournament organized between the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The tournament was usually held between winners of the African Cup of nations and the Asia Cup or the Asian Games. In 1995, Nigeria emerged as the contestant of the competition courtesy of been champions of Africa. Uzbekistan was their opponent as Asian champions.

The champions of the Afro Asian games were decided on a two-legged encounter held between both participating countries. The first leg of the Cup competition was held at the Pakhatakor Markaziy stadium in Tashkent on the 10th of November 1995 while the 2nd leg was held at the National Stadium, Surulere Lagos, Nigeria on the 21st of October 1995.

Nigeria triumph 3-2 in the 1st leg courtesy of goals from Samson Siasia, Victor Ikpeba, and Nwankwo Kanu who was a substitute in the match. The team led by coach Jo Bonfere was filled with talent and paraded a good starting eleven for the match. In goal was the experienced Alloysius Agu, defenders were Taribo West, Augustine Eguaveon, and Uche Okafor(now late). The midfield was anchored by Sunday Oliseh, Wilson Oruma, and Mutiu Adepoju. Spearheading Nigeria’s attack were Wasiu Ipaye, Victor Ikpeba, Samson Siasia, and Daniel Amokachi.

Samson Siasia opened the scoring for the Super Eagles of Nigeria in the 10th minute of play. Victor Ikpeba added a second in the 65 minutes before Uzbekistan pulled one back through Kasimov in the 70th minute. Nigeria’s two-goal cushion was however restored when substitute Nwankwo Kanu scored Nigeria third goal in 71 minutes. Fyodorov however ensured the scoreline was not too embarrassing when he scored Uzbekistan’s second in the 85th minute. The match eventually ended 2-3 in favor of Nigeria.

The 2nd leg of the Afro Asian Cup took place on the 21st of October 1995 before 60,000 vociferous fans who had come to watch their darling team. Most of the players from the 1st leg were included in the team. Goalkeeper Alloysius Agu kept his place in goal. Augustine Eguaveon, Celestine Babayaro, Uche Okafor (now late), and Uche Okechukwu were in charge of the defense.

Mutiu Adepoju, Wilson Oruma, and Sunday Oliseh controlled the midfield. George Finidi, Nwankwo Kanu, and Daniel Amokachi were in charge of the Super Eagles attack. In a keenly contested game, it was substitute Emmanuel Amunike who fired home the only goal of the encounter in the 82nd minute of play, to give Nigeria a 4-2 aggregate winner. There was jubilation in the stadium as referee Sidi Bekaye Magassa from Mali blew the final whistle to bring an end to proceedings.

The result meant Nigeria’s Super Eagles were undisputed Champions of the 1995 Afro Asian Cup and became the second African country after Cameroon who won the 1985 edition. The competition which started in 1978, was later scrapped in 2007 due to the AFC representative supporting Germany rather than South Africa in the vote for hosting right to FIFA 2006 World Cup.

There is however some ray of hope about the possible return of the competition, as CAF president Ahmad Ahmad mentioned in February of 2018. He talked about the possibility of a return amid talks between both CAF and AFC. Unfortunately, nothing tangible has been heard ever since. Only time will tell if the much-publicized return will eventually become a reality.

Nwankwo Kanu

Nwankwo Kanu: The Nigerian Ex-Footballer With a Brave Heart

Nwankwo Kanu nicknamed Papilo is a retired Nigerian International footballer. In 1992, during the African U-20 Youth Championship held in Mauritius, he was rejected because he was too tiny. The hunger to succeed made him work hard, and this eventually paid off, as he was invited to feature in the 1993 FIFA U-17 World Cup held in Japan. He Captained the team to victory as they defeated African neighbors 2-1 in an entertaining final to lift the trophy.

The gangling striker who was born in Owerri, Eastern Nigeria has played in top clubs in Europe, including- Ajax Amsterdam of Holland, Inter Milan of Italy, Arsenal of England, West Bromwich Albion of England and Portsmouth FC of England where he eventually hanged his boots.

A member of the Jo Bonfere team that snatched Gold Medal at the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996. Kanu Nwankwo was then diagnosed with a heart defect after returning from the Atlanta Olympics. He underwent successful heart surgery in November of 1996 and later returned to Inter Milan in April of 1997. When others gave up on him, he bounced back to the game that brought him fame and fortune.

One of the things that have set Nwankwo Kanu apart is the burning desire to win. This was evident in the array of medals and trophies he has won in his long and illustrious career.
To date, he is the most decorated Nigerian player. In case anyone is in doubt, the following medals and honor will erase all doubts.

  • 1993 FIFA U-17 World Youth Championship
  • Gold Medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics Soccer events
  • 2008 F.A Cup winner with Portsmouth F.C England
  • Three Trophies with Arsenal F.C of England from 1999 to 2004
  • 1997-1998 UEFA Cup Winner with Inter Milan of Italy
  • Six Trophies with Ajax F.C of Holland from 1993 to 1996
  • 1992-1993 Premier League Winner with Iwuanyanwu Nationale of Owerri
  • Afro Asian Cup Trophy in 1995
  • Twice African Footballer of the year in 1996 and 1999
  • BBC African footballer of the year in 1997 and 1999

Indeed Nwankwo Kanu is a living legend who has never ceased to amaze soccer pundits who thought he should have hung his boots. That was during the darkest moments of his career in 1996 immediately after he led the Nigerian Dream team one to capture Gold at Atlanta Olympics soccer events. He returned to active football in April 1997 even stronger and determined. It was the height of bravery and strong faith in God

To illustrate how big his heart was, Kanu Nwankwo on July 31st, 2000, set up a heart foundation for the treatment of less privileged children diagnosed with the heart-related disease. So far the foundation has successfully helped 538 children with heart defects. He is presently the Nigeria Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The former Super Eagles star who had a total of 87 caps for the senior national team with 12 goals, is happily married to Amarachi and they are blessed with three wonderful kids- Pinky Amarachi Kanu, Iyang Onyekachi Kanu, and Sean Chukwudi Kanu.

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