Pompey XI 8 - Friend's of Kanu 6
Mon 19-05-08, 7.30pm
A third day running for some Pompey fans, but when it comes to football there is never enough. Last night Kanu hosted his annual charity game to raise funds for the Kanu Heart Foundation. I am sure that most people by now know that Kanu had to have a heart operation at the age of 17, and now he raises money for those who need the same operation and cannot afford one.
This years teams were being managed by coaches Joe Jordan who looked after the Portsmouth XI and Tony Adams who had the Friend's of Kanu XI, and more than a few stars appeared to help raise some money. A number of the cup winning squad started the match including Captain Sol Campbell, Lassana Diarra, Niko Kranjcar, Papa Bouba Diop, Noe Pamarot and of course Kanu, alongside Richard Hughes, Arnold Mvuemba, Lucien Aubey, Franck Songo'o and Asmir Begovic. On the Friend's of Kanu Team John Utaka played alongside Carlton Cole, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Haynes and Pompey old boy Lomana LuaLua along with some members of the Nigerian team past and present including Uche Okechukwu and Sunday Oliseh.
The game kicked off as you would expect in a very much training style with lots of quick passing and very little tackling, but the goals started to come thick and fast to keep the entertainment level high. Danny Haynes scored the first after a blistering bit of acceleration down the right wing and a great finish quickly followed by a neat finish from Carlton Cole to put the Friends 2-0 up.
At this point Sol decided that he didn't fancy playing centre back anymore and started to make charges up the field in more of an attacking midfielder come striker role. To be honest he looked exhausted from the weekend, but with the crowd voicing their approval at everyone of his surges forward he continued. The Pompey XI were quickly back in the game after a tremendous volley from Richard Hughes flew in off the corner of the posts after some good build up play. Frank Songo'o then equalised after a mistake between goalkeeper and defender. Then to the crowds delight Sol burst past Anton Ferdinand to go 1 on 1 with the keeper. He knocked the ball past him only to have his legs taken away. A huge roar went up from the Fratton Faithful and Campbell stepped up to take the spot kick - He blasted it wide! Towards the end of the half Utaka broke the offside trap to score his first of the night, followed by a second for Cole just before halftime. This was not a night to be a goalkeeper.
Halftime: Pompey XI 2 - Friend's of Kanu 4
Sol did not make it out for the second half unsurprisingly, but he was the only change for either team. Cole started where he left off before the break and quickly netted his third of the night. At this point the Friend's of Kanu looked like they might start to run away with it, but Niko, and Kanu combined well on two occasions to see the FA Cup Final goal scorer dance his way round the keeper twice to tap in. Then in another amazing moment Papa Bouba Diop hit the ball into the back of the net. It actually went in and he proved he could score. His goal was appreciated by the Pompey players, who also obviously saw the funny side and started to have a good laugh with him. It was actually a really nice strike from the edge of the box, so who knows why he has not been able to do that all season?
LuaLua, showed some brief moments of his previous magic and blasted a shot in from the edge of the area after sprinting past Pamarot, Kanu then decided to relive his miss on Saturday by rounding the keeper only to hit the left hand post before a minute or two later getting another chance and taking his hat-trick for the night. Diop deciding he now had a taste for goals scored himself a second after nicking the ball off the toes of Niko just as he was about to tap it in, and Diarra scored a nice volley after the ball floated over the keeper right onto his run before he and Kanu were taken off to a standing ovation.
If you are keeping up the final score finished Pompey XI 8 - Friend's of Kanu 6
It was a great night with some really entertaining football and some rather funny and unforgettable moments. A good crowd turned up at Fratton Park and as always chanted their way through the whole game making the Kanu Heart Foundation hopefully quite a bit of money. So until the next season begins there is unlikely to be any more football at Fratton Park. What a season it has been! Let's hope the next one can bring as much if not more excitement and joy to us all.