South Africa have performed above expectation at Afcon, Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix.

CAIRO – Nigerian and African football legend Nwankwo Kanu believes football on the continent has made great strides since he was a player and he paid tribute to the Confederation of African Football (Caf) for the role the organisation has played in the improvement of the game.

Kanu is among the many former greats watching the football at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) currently underway in Egypt.

The two-time African footballer of the year, who was a finalist with Nigeria in 2000, revealed his thoughts about some of the changes the game has undergone.

“A lot of things have changed since the time I was playing,” said Kanu in an interview with cafonline.com. “The Caf we knew before is not the same we know now.

“The stadia have developed, the technology has grown, and it is not like in our days where there were no social platforms to follow up on the players and the competition.

“Now, you don’t need to travel to watch your team play. You can just sit at home and watch your favourite players and teams on social media.

“This is something that has helped African football to grow and to become better and better.

“The Caf Champions League has also grown and if you look at all our respective local leagues they have developed as well.

“We have good talented players all across Africa and more are moving abroad.”

Kanu also took a moment to reflect on some of his experiences of playing in Afcon.

“For me, every moment I played at Afcon was memorable because not everyone has the chance to play in the tournament,” he said.

“If you are there, it means a lot. But the games that I do remember were when we played against Cameroon, Ghana or the North African teams.

“One match I remember was in 2004 when we beat Cameroon 2-1. That was a prestigious moment for us.”

Asked to highlight the most memorable moment in his career with Nigeria, Kanu replied: “The most memorable for me has to be the two goals I scored against Brazil (Olympics 1996).

“I do love Brazil and I always support them. When we played in the semis it was like ‘ooh, the mighty Brazil’…

“We were 3-1 down, with five minutes to the end of the game, and we scored to come back to 3-2.

“In injury time, I scored a special goal that saw the game end 3-3 and, at that time, the golden rule was still applied and I scored the fourth goal in extra time.

“It was special because the Brazil team at the time was the best. It had all the big players, but we won and the important goals were scored by Kanu.” 

African News Agency (ANA)