The First Group is proud to welcome Nigerian football star Nwankwo Kanu as the latest member of The First Team. The striker, who plays for English premier league side Portsmouth, is also a property owner with the company, having recently invested in The Diamond Hotel Apartments at Dubai Sports City.
Kanu joins The First Team’s all star cast of sporting ambassadors, including fellow footballers Michael Owen and Andriy Shevchenko, tennis ace Svetlana Kuznetsova, cricketer Andrew Flintoff, rugby star Bryan Habana and golfer Sam Torrance.
Nicknamed ‘Papillo,’ The King, Kanu has amassed a glittering collection of medals and personal titles since making his debut at the age of 15. Under Ajax, he sealed three Dutch titles and a European Cup, and has captained the Nigerian team to an Olympic Gold. During his seven years with Arsenal, he scored a double Premier Leauge win and an FA Cup title, before lifting a third FA Cup under current team Portsmouth. Personal accolades also include two African Footballer of the Year awards.
“I have been a big fan of Kanu the footballer for a long time, especially during his tremendous years at my home club Arsenal. Having met him and learned more about his work both on and off the pitch, I have become even more impressed by Kanu the person,” says Danny Lubert, Co-Chairman of The First Group.
During late 1990’s, Kanu fought his own battle off the field after doctors discovered he had a heart defect. After recovering from more than 4 hours of heart surgery, he was inspired to set up his own charity; the Kanu Heart Foundation.
“Kanu’s Heart Foundation has impacted the lives of countless individuals who were not able to afford medical care,” continues Danny. “He is dedicated to an array of other charitable organizations in Nigeria and abroad. Kanu is a special person and we are honoured to have him on board The First Team”.
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