As part of celebrations marking his 20th anniversary as coach of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger the manager of Arsenal has praised the impact African players have had on his managerial career.
Wenger transformed Kolo Toure from an unknown into a world-class defender, and re-ignited Kanu’s career when he signed the Nigerian in 1999.
“African players had a massive impact on my career because I always managed them right from the moment I started in the top league in France,” said Wenger.
“I had African players at Monaco and I like the fact that they were creative and they are usually attacking players with imagination. They have pace and power as well, and they usually combine strength and agility well. That’s very difficult to find.
“Africans are hugely passionate people and there is a big passion in Africa for the game. They are happy on the football pitch and that’s something which has been fantastic for us.
The official website of the gunners went a step further by asking fans of the team to vote for the greatest African player at Arsenal, with Nigeria legend Kanu mentioned in same breath as Emmanuel Adebayor, Alex Iwobi, Kolo Toure, Lauren and Christopher Wreh.
However manager Arsene Wenger was quick in pointing out one of his former protegee in George Opong Weah of Liberia, whom the manager handled while at Monaco.
“Kanu had a massive impact here, Kolo Toure too, I had George Weah too… so all these players had a massive impact.”
Weah dedicated his 1995 World Best Footballer Award to Wenger for his guidance and mentoring when he picked up the gong alongside best footballer in Europe back then.