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Papilo Bows Out in Style: Football Stars Eto’o, Adebayor, Muntari, Song, Okocha and Eboue at the Kanu Nwankwo Testimonial Match




Nigerian football international, Kanu Nwankwo officially celebrated his exit from international football with a testimonial match which took place in Lagos, Nigeria. According to the BBC, over 14000 fans braved rainy weather to watch their hero Kanu play alongside many of Africa’s greatest football stars including Jay Jay Okocha, Samuel Eto’o and Emmanuel Adebayor. Other stars on the pitch included Danny Shittu, Sulley Muntari, Rigobert Song, Emmanuel Eboue, Kalu Uche, Jean Makoun, Khalilou Fadiga, Anthony Baffoe, Sammy Kuffour, George Boateng, Joseph Yobo, Taye Taiwo, Herman Hreidarsson, Obinna Nsofor, Ikechukwu Uche and Yakubu Ayegbeni. Lagos State Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola also made an appearance and hit the pitch in a Super Eagles jersey.

In the end, the Super Eagles beat a Rest of the World XI (Friends of Kanu team) – 3-1. Kanu played for both sides during the different halves of the match. He scored for the Super Eagles side.

After the match, Kanu made an emotional speech, he said “There’s a time to start and a time to finish, it has been a fulfilling ride from day one“. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Kanu Heart Foundation, the non-profit organization founded by Kanu which provides free life-saving heart surgery to underprivileged people with life threatening heart conditions.

Check out photos from the testimonial match below:

Nwankwo Kanu with Gov. Babatunde Fashola

Samuel Eto'o during the match

Regobert Song shaking hand with ball boys during the match

Samuel Etoo, Micheal Essien, Chief Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman, Capitol Oil and Coach Samson Siasia during the match

Regobert Song, John Utaka and Taye Taiwo during the match

Sule Mutari with Austin Jay Jay Okocha during the match

Peter Rufai contesting the ball with Emanuel Adebayor during the match

Obinna Nwaneri against Samuel Eto'o

Kalu Uche with Yakubu Aiyegbeni during the match

Finidi George against Emmanuel Eboue

Austin Jay Jay Okocha during the match

Friends of Kanu celebrating during the match

Gov. Rochas Okorocha of Imo State with Gov. Babatunde Fashola during the match

Photo Credit: Sylva Eleanya for Vanguard Newspapers
Information Source: BBC Sport


  1. maryam

    June 13, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    • ADAEZE

      June 13, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      YES he has great talent! I’m happy that ALL these giants showed up to come celebrate Papilo!

  2. Nma

    June 13, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    Nice seeing SE legends play together once again. Nwankwo Kanu was a great footballer and i wish him all the best.

  3. TAMA

    June 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    the match was fun to watch…
    didnt lke Kanus hair style sha, was oo busy, but i love the fact he does a very good charity work… nice one

  4. royalhottie

    June 13, 2011 at 4:38 pm


  5. Cliff.

    June 13, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Nice to see living legends and heroes play as one.
    I wishhim all the best. I pray Jehovah continue to bless the heart fundation which he is using to save the masses whose hope would have been autho-death sentence.

  6. philomena

    June 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    its so nice seeing African super stars togeda like this having fun. next time they should wear shin guards even tho its a friendly and Kanu Nwankwo needs to end the Era of that silly hairstyle (unacceptable in this day and age )..
    overall my boy etoo with his cute smile and sexy uche were lookin fly….

  7. babs

    June 13, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Nice pix
    Pic 11 is actually Finidi and ‘Emmanual Eboue’ not Kuffour 🙂


    June 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I am truly sad i missed this match..looks like a load of fun. Kanu Nwankwor bows out as a true icon and i heard Fashola played well too.

  9. toyin

    June 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    this is intresting………. inmaging gov Fash on the pitch. God bless nigeria. eko o ni baje oooooooo

  10. dlapikin

    June 13, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    @ Bellanaija Staffers: Eboue against Finidi picture is captionned “samuel Eboue” The only Samuel there is Eto’o Eboue is Emmanuel…

  11. Kerosene

    June 13, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Very very nice i wished I could have watch it

  12. desmond

    June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    quite an interesting match….really funny. wished we had a league for this kinda players.

  13. kiz

    June 13, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    it sure looks like they had alot of fun!!

  14. bolcit patience barshep

    June 13, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    Happy retirement Papilo, naija loves u!!!

  15. Aibee

    June 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve got a big smile on my face looking at these pictures. Seeing Gov’nor BRF on the pitch made it even better. Well done Kanu and may God prosper all your future endeavours.

  16. Mademoiselle

    June 13, 2011 at 8:02 pm


  17. kokolette

    June 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    awww! gud seeing our gr8 Governor Fashola out der too! dis would have bn one hell of a match! gr8 2 c our gr8 african stars! they are d one thing i’m most proud of 4rm Africa! Welldone 2 Kanu! U hve indeed made us proud!

  18. soc omotoye

    June 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm


  19. Temi

    June 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    Aww, I almost shed a tear. Love his exit. may God bless him in his future endeavours. Amen.

  20. QuinJosh

    June 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Kanu is my true legend. He remained true to the very end. I love him pieces!!! May God richly bless your future endeavors.

  21. Kay

    June 13, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    @Kerosene, #gbagaun!!!!!!!

  22. Loriee

    June 13, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    Fashola is such a great Leader….we need more of you as Governors 🙂

  23. NNENNE

    June 13, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    It’s nice to see Gov.Rochas standing side by side with Gov. Fashola.I just hope that he will learn some governing lessons from him. Imo state has not had any leader since the late Sam. Mbakwe left office.Yes, I said it!!!!

  24. Lola X

    June 13, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Okay, I’m intrigued! How old is Kanu?

    Lola x, London

  25. Annabel

    June 14, 2011 at 12:23 am

    Awwww. So nice to see these guys hanging out and having fun. Gov Fash don clean up o. As in the guy don begin fine small small.

  26. Moi Meme

    June 14, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Aww my husband Regobert *seven banana* song! all of them are aging now…how sad!! gone are the days of GREAT african soccer! Matches were the entire country is on edge, houses burning down because women forgot pots on the fire to watch soccer…I miss those days

  27. Agha

    June 14, 2011 at 2:08 am

    Nevertheless if all our leaders in Nigeria can have Kanu’s hair style and posses his heart type we will progress in this NIJA AREA.

  28. ines

    June 14, 2011 at 7:08 am

    I am so excited by the photos!

  29. jezz

    June 14, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Kanu is a good man, may his well never run dry

    • partyrider

      June 16, 2011 at 1:17 am


  30. stella

    June 14, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Kanu! You have finally quit and I wish you all the best.

  31. fokasibe

    June 14, 2011 at 8:20 am

    I doff my hat to em…..FASHOLA!!!! Action Guv’nor!!!

  32. damilola

    June 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Gov is the man of the people, he is the definition of government of the people,by the people and for the people…….. kanu deserves it, its a very lovely way of opting out of football.

  33. Tiki

    June 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Missed the match, but I like the camaraderie Kanu inspired…and my boy Eto’o repping Camer! The football milieu is gonna miss u, Kanu…

  34. faith

    June 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

    pls Eto come n marry me…..smiling…well don Papilo….love u…

    • Mademoiselle

      June 15, 2011 at 12:07 am

      Eto’o is already married with kids o!

    • partyrider

      June 16, 2011 at 1:18 am

      buhahaha..u just broke her heart 🙁

  35. Oma

    June 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

    He was indeed a favored man.


    June 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Fabulante!!!!!!!!! Bliss on their faces, nothing like a game to bring them together, Guv’nor u look splufick!

  37. Odior

    June 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    cool…..see finidi george…this is sure cloassic for us

  38. Odior

    June 14, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Classic i mean

  39. francex

    June 14, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Well done papilo

  40. Edna4real

    June 14, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Papilo, indeed u re good, may God continue to bless the work of ur hands IJN. i love u.

  41. boo

    June 14, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Ah in the 2nd to the last pic, Fashola did “Suck belle make shirt fine”…

    This looks like so much fun. A great player was honored well. I was just smilingas i kept scrolling down to yet another pic of naijas great talent.

    Kanu una well done oh.

    • ugowoundo

      June 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm


  42. Naira

    June 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    im fromm Camerounnn
    lovely Eto’o n Nsong me likey

  43. dele bakare

    June 14, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Lovely pictures, grand end 2 a wonderful, memorable nd prosperous career. Guv fashola such a gr8 leader.

  44. Chibyke

    June 15, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    May the days of Kanu be long. We love u, but God loves u more.

  45. paschal chukwu

    June 16, 2011 at 12:51 am

    Fantastic performance & what a gud way 2 honor papilo by oda great players. I luv u guyz!

  46. lenalbert

    June 17, 2011 at 12:26 am


  47. WaleAdeniji

    June 17, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Kanu, you damn too much. God bless you. Wish 60% of Nigerian leaders have the kind of patriotism and dedication you have. Nigeria will be better than most western countries by now. Enjoy your retirement in glory. We all love you!!!

  48. i.j

    June 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

    fantastic, kanu ur too much, may Almighty GOD, continue guiding and protecting u all de days of ur life, AMEN. 4 OKOCHA we re still expectin such 4rom uoooooooo

  49. Ella

    June 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Ohhh!!! am touched by his speech “there’s a time to start and a time to finish”. Papilo, it hurts to see u finish dis memorable career, but God knows the best. May God continue to prosper u in ur future endeavous IJN Amen!! Carry go, Naijas love.

  50. B3CE

    June 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Kanu (Papilo) was and still is a huge blessing to Nigerian football. Who would forget his mercurial exploits at the 1993 Japan Under 17 youth championship , the Atlanta 1996 Centennial Olympics, Ajax 1995 Europe Championship, Arsenal Premiership and FA wins, Portsmouth FA cup win, series of African cup of nations medals, etc? How can anyone forget the young chap that won African Footballer of the year thrice which is a very rare fit and against all odds of health challenges? Kanu’s humility in great sucess is exceptional and worthy of emulation. He has honoured Nigeria in several ways and deserves the honour he got at his testimonial match. He was a worthy leader as the captain of Super Eagles. I wish you well and pray that God will continue to crown your endevours. Nigerians are really proud of you.

  51. Fairy GodSister

    June 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I’ve always liked Kanu Nwankwo….. always…..

  52. Happy Umoh

    June 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

    wish u all de best in ur new appointment as a ‘special adviser on sport’.

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