By: Alusine Rehme Wilson
Experienced Skipper Abass Push Kanu(28) of provincial based Sierra Leone Premier League side Wusum Stars was gifted by a fan over the weekend with a historic hand sketched photograph of his, becoming the first ever player in Sierra Leone to be idolized and celebrated in such a way.
The portrait which is sized twice and a half of A-3 paper size became the center of attraction at the Makeni Wusum Stadium during a Premier League encounter between visiting Ports Authority from Freetown and host Wusum Stars of Bombali in their first game last Saturday since the halted Sierra Leone Premier League resumed on 11th September, 2021.
The Push Portrait: a National Surprise Package
Since the drawing was unveiled on Saturday, 18th September, 2021 it didn’t only keep players of the match very busy gazing at it at some point during the match, but became a whole center of admiration to supporters that witnessed the encounter. They could not hold their emotions further but proceeded to pose by the iconic imagery, captured it on the cameras of their devices and shared it widely on WhatsApp plus other social media forums within and across the football loving country.
The well sketched portrait of Abass Push Kanu is undoubtedly the first ever drawing to be gifted to a Sierra Leone Player in the nation’s Football History during an encounter. Kanu now joins a limited list of former footballers in Sierra Leone to be honored by fans.
Across the country, the one of most visible sketches nationwide is that of Former Sierra Leone International and Ex-Leone Stars Captain Mohamed Kallon, graced for Wusum Star youngster Abdul Buya Kamara whose photo was also sketched on a wall after the Leone Stars forward Kai Kamara among few others.
Kanu says the image gave him extra motivation:
Abass Push Kanu disclosed that the surprise gift is an added motivation to his long term playing career and he will do his best to secure the gift as he plans to place it in his parlor around where he has also kept his other prizes from several tournaments among the laurels he has won as a player in the last seventeen (17) football seasons.
“While warming up prior to our Premier League encounter against Ports Authority, I saw the image’s poster from afar but fans were busy gazing at it and some of my teammates told me that that sketch bears my face in my Wusum Stars jersey,” he explained.
“I did not have a chance to go and watch the image clearly but I became very motivated while playing against Ports Authority until my team mate Sulaiman Shembu Kargo scored the day’s opener and all of us then rushed and celebrated towards my image. Thankfully a second half substitute Sheyma Kamara added his name to the score sheet and we won the match by two goals to zero against Ports Authority,” remarked the currentmost experienced Wusum Stars defender.
Coach Abdul Conteh Inspired, called for continuity:
The current Assistant coach of Wusum Stars Abdul Conteh who is widely known as “German” – a former player of Wusum Stars and Port Authority in an interview confessed that it was the first time in his aging career both as a footballer then and a coach now to witness a player receiving such gift from a fan.
It’s a good way to celebrate a star and I would love to use this special opportunity provided by this medium for and on behalf of the Wusum Stars technical team to thank all our supporters, especially the Artist who drew this valuable image for our most experienced player in the person of Abass Push Kanu.
“Push has been a huge asset to Wusum Stars. His leadership role amongst his fellow players and agility while in action is second to none. I believe this image presented to him by a fan will help to inspire him the more in his playing career, he added.
He also said that he would love to see other players, precisely former players of Wusum Stars, being celebrated for their services to the team.
“I gave my all to this drawing to better celebrate an iconic footballer I admire most”
The Artist Musa Alpha Kanu (T-West) who drew and painted the image revealed that he has been into drawing for close to a decade and have specifically decided to draw the image of Abass Push Kanu out of the desire to celebrate him as his icon and team captain of Wusum Stars while alive. Push has been playing for the club for several years and he has never been widely distinctly celebrated for his outstanding services to the team.
“The image is very special. I drew it from the depth of my heart with special love and I had to spend nearly two weeks to complete the glittering multi-colored drawing for the Wusum Stars defender and winger.
“Overall, this work is estimated to have cost the sum of two million leone (Le 2,000,000) an amount that is equivalent to USD200 If it were someone that had contracted me to do it, ” he said.
He added that the drawing will last for over twenty years, and that he is also happy that the drawing has opened new doors for contracts for my artistic work,” he added.
Abass Push Kanu in Brief:
Push started playing football in 2004 in his place of birth in Makeni, Bombali District in the North East region of Sierra Leone. He announced himself as a promising football while playing and schooling at the Sierra Leone Muslim Brotherhood Primary school in Makeni where he played a number of school Leagues from 2004-2007.
The energetic footballer then had spells with non division sides Black Stars FC and Rangers FC before he joined second division side Cosmos football club and eventually signed for first division side Wusum Stars in 2008 from Cosmos FC.
He has since been very instrumental towards the success of Wusum Stars, as a defender and winger Kanu is one of the few that can score goals at any point in time in a match.
He had earned several titles representing Wusum Stars including four EBK-Trophy titles among others.
Push was involved in all two qualifications of Wusum Stars to the Sierra Leone Premier League and will never be forgotten for his assist earlier this year to youngster forward Alhassan Conteh who scored the only goal of the match after he was introduced in the second half during the first division playoff finals encounter against Kay Town Lions Football Club from Koinadugu District.
His assist for the game’s sole goal earned Wusum Stars the only spot from the North-East region to mark their Premier League return since they were relegated in 2012.
Presently, Kanu who is also a business man is seen as an icon of the team and for every player in the club he is cool and a very respectful character, no surprise the team is currently 3rd in the eighteen teams Sierra Leone Premier League log with 20 points after 10 games played.
When asked of retirement plans as rumored, the 28-year old confirmed that he is yet to retire from football but his focus is to help the team win the ongoing 2020-2021 Sierra Leone Premier League which is contested by an unprecedented eighteen teams. “I will announce my retirement when I feel the time is ripe enough to hang my boots, ” he said with a broad smile.
However, it is worth to note that there is no popularized Hall of fame for former Sierra Leone Football Legend but it seems new generation Players will not leave to taste such neglect as their predecessors have experienced.