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Page last updated at 17:51 GMT, Thursday, 24 June 2010 18:51 UK

World Cup 2010: Kanu calls time on Nigeria career

By Oluwashina Okeleji
BBC Sport, Johannesburg, South Africa

Nwankwo Kanu
Kanu has enjoyed a 16-year career with the Super Eagles

Nigeria captain Kanu has called time on his international career following the Super Eagles' exit from the World Cup in South Africa.

Portsmouth striker Kanu had already hinted before the finals that this could be his last major tournament.

"For me it's a farewell on the same continent it all started," he said after Nigeria ended bottom of Group B.

Kanu, who won the first of his 80 caps against Sweden in May 1994, will still continue to play club football.

Nigeria lost their group matches against Argentina and Greece before Tuesday's 2-2 draw with South Korea ended their stay in the tournament.

Kanu, who is Nigeria's most successful player, has also expressed satisfaction with his own contribution to the Super Eagles in a 16-year career.

"It probably didn't end well for us in this tournament, nevertheless I'm happy with all I've done for the national team," he added.

Lee Jung-Soo of South Korea celebrates with team mates after scoring the equalising goal

Extended highlights - Nigeria 2-2 South Korea

Kanu has said that he will look back at his international career with pride.

"I've really enjoyed myself and it was emotionally important for me to play in front of my family," he stated.

"I've won the [under-17] World Cup, the Olympic gold and Nations Cup silver and bronze medals.

"We haven't achieved much as a team but personally I think it's an achievement I am proud of.

"My wife was here [in Durban] to watch me, I played in front of my kids at the biggest football tournament, so what else can I ask for."

The two-time African footballer of the year moved to Ajax in 1994 where he won three Dutch league titles, the Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

He joined Inter Milan in 1996 and won the Uefa Cup with the Italians in 1998, before moving Arsenal in 1999 where he won two league titles and two FA Cups. He scored 44 goals in 198 games for the Gunners.

After a two-year spell with West Brom, Kanu joined Portsmouth in 2006 and he played in two FA Cup finals, scoring the winning goal against Cardiff in the 2008 showpiece at Wembley.

His international success includes a Fifa under-17 World Cup title in 1993 and the 1996 Olympic football gold medal.

Kanu's individual honours include African Footballer of the Year awards in 1996 and 1999. He finished in sixth place at the 1996 Fifa World Player of the Year gala.

Kanu also played in three World Cup tournaments in 1998, 2002 and 2010.

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see also
Nigeria's Kanu offered new deal
19 May 10 |  African
Kaita gets threats after red card
20 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Africa's World Cup sides criticised
18 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nigeria coach proud despite loss
17 Jun 10 |  World Cup 2010
Nigerian pupils report on defeat
14 Jun 10 |  School Report Sports Day

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