An international call-up capped a great six months for Peterborough United star, but are things about to get even better?
Peterborough United’s Idris Kanu has just enjoyed the best six months of his career...but he suspects the next six months could be even better.
Kanu was a regular member of the Posh matchday squad in a promotion season, he stayed injury free and in June he received his first international call-up for Sierra Leone, for a massive winner-takes-all Africa Cup of Nations match against Benin.
It gave the 21 year-old the opportunity to travel to the homeland of his parents for the first time since 2013 and enjoy an emotional reunion with his father.
Unfortunately Kanu didn’t play in the match because of Covid issues, but he’s still now a big star in Sierra Leone after a first appearance in the finals for 25 years was sealed with a 1-0 win.
Those finals will take place in Cameroon from January 9 to February 6 and Kanu knows a strong start to the season could see him follow in the footsteps of Posh’s former DR Congo star Gaby Zakuani who played in the competition three times.
“The call-up was a very proud moment for me and my family,” Kanu stated.
“I didn’t expect it, but I always knew I wanted to take the opportunity when it arrived.
“Before football came along I used to travel to Sierra Leone every December. My mum and dad were married there. My dad still lives there and I hadn’t been there since 2013 so it was great to meet up with him again.
“It was a hectic time with all the travel and then the Covid problems (seven players had to self-isolate), but it was still a great experience and one I will always cherish.
“There are many countries less fortunate than England and life isn’t easy in them so to see the smiles on the faces of so many people after we qualified was incredible. That’s what football can do.
“They play football everywhere over there. Every dirt pitch you see has a game going on and many people will be watching it. People just live for football.
“After the game we were bombarded in the street wherever we went. There were crowds everywhere.
“We left the hotel the night after the game at 9am and got back at 2am the next day. We were given an open-top bus tour and every village came out to cheer us. There was music blaring and people dancing.
“I hadn’t been called up before, but people were telling me they looked me up online to watch my videos and even though I didn’t play I am still getting messages of congratulations.
“It was obviously a big disappointment to miss the match.
“I was close to playing and to have it snatched away by Covid was horrible, but I decided I couldn’t get angry as I had to give all my support to those who were playing.
“Those of us who didn’t play watched the game on television in a hotel room and it was fantastic.
“When we scored it was bedlam with everyone shouting and jumping up and down and when Benin hit the bar late on we were all on the floor!
“It was great to meet up and mix with players from so many different countries, like Iceland, Finland and the United States and they were all committed to their country. We meshed really well.
“The first six months of this year were amazing with promotion to the Championship, not getting injured and then getting called up by my country and yet there could be an opportunity for even better moments.
“If I can kick on at Peterborough early in the season who knows what will happen?”
Kanu travelled to the big game with Blackpool forward Sulley Kaikai and Osman Kakay who used to play for QPR.
Kanu, who should be involved when Posh host Plymouth Argyle in a Carabao Cup tie tomorrow (August 10) signed for the club from Aldershot as a 17 year-old and spent time on loan at Port Vale and Boreham Wood before establishing a place in Darren Ferguson’s first team squad.