Kanu didn’t tell me they called me Igwe – Thierry Henry

Former Arsenal striker, Thierry Henry, was crowned as the King of Goals by his Nigerian fans on Sunday where he revealed that he never knew the famous nickname he was called among locals, “Igwe”, the Igbo word for king.

As he arrived into the Landmark Centre Hall, fans screamed “Igwe, Igwe” and he was asked by host Biola Kazeem if he aware that he was called by that name.

“(Nwankwo) Kanu never told me,” Henry said, referring to his former Arsenal teammate and Nigeria legend.

When asked who was the best African footballer he played with, Henry said it was Kanu because of his technical ability even though he reserved great praise for Cameroon’s Lauren and Ivory Coast’s Kolo Toure.

The French legend said he was very happy to be in Nigeria for the first time where he met with former Monaco teammate Victor Ikpeba, a man he referred to as a big brother who helped him to settle down at the Principality club.

“I remember when Ikpeba came back from the Olympics with his shiny gold medal, I was really happy for him,” Henry said about Nigeria’s victory at Atlanta ’96.

The Arsenal legend also spoke glowingly of the Nigerian team of 1994 that reached the second round at USA in their maiden appearance at the World Cup.

“They were my introduction to Nigerian football because I saw (Samson) Siasia and (Stephen) Keshi, may his soul rest in peace, play in France.”

He  was a guest of Guinness who brought him to Lagos as part of their Made of Black campaign. The 40-year-old also participated in cooking Jollof rice, a famous Nigerian dish.

Henry had been in Kenya a day before arriving in Lagos and talked about the passion of Africans for football when he referred to young boys who travelled more than seven hours just to take part in a game that he watched.

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