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Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 15:51 UK

Kanu to tackle homeless problem

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Lagos

Nigeria's Nwankwo Kanu (with cap on) poses with a team of children
Nwankwo Kanu has been helping homeless children in Nigeria
Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu has pledged to extend his charity work to help the country's homeless children.

Kanu, who is also a Unicef ambassador, has been working on a programme not solely aimed at helping the children's footballing talent.

The programme brought together Fifa's Football for Hope, Search and Groom (the organisation behind the Homless World Cup) and Unicef to celebrate children and give them the opportunity to be heard while showcasing their various talents.

"The aim is to help less privileged children and also make them believe in themselves," Kanu told BBC Sport.

"There's no amount of success on the football pitch that can give me more smiles than the numbers of lives I've touched.

"As a father, the future of my child is always on my mind, so we must lead children properly.

"For me the role of charity is not to just talk but to commit myself to helping, the helpless and this is a significant role in my life.

"There are children out there who need just a little as they have nothing in this world, so through my position I hope to raise awareness about these important issues."

The projects brought together children aged between nine and 16 from deprived areas around the city of Lagos.

Kanu was impressed not only with the children's football skills but also their artistic ability.

"These kids remind me of when I was growing up as a little boy and I felt so emotional," he said.

The lanky striker is already well known for his work with the Kanu Heart Foundation that he set up after he was diagnosed with a faulty heart valve, 12 years ago.

His foundation has assisted several children to get much needed surgery for complicated heart problems.

see also
Kanu ponders new Portsmouth deal
22 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Kanu set for talks over new deal
20 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Kanu upbeat despite Pompey slump
12 May 08 |  Portsmouth
Kanu plans African all-star game
09 May 07 |  African
Striker Kanu's ultimate goal
25 Sep 06 |  Football
Kanu gets Unicef job
27 Jun 05 |  African

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