Fact CheckHeadlineHomepagePolitics

False! Homeless man in viral thumbnail, not Kanu

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Claim: TikTok images compare the affluent Nwankwo Kanu to the homeless Mr Kanu.

False! Homeless man in viral thumbnail, not Kanu

Verdict: Our findings disproved the claim that Mr Kanu is now poor and homeless. The beggar used in the claim was a lookalike, not him.

Full Text

In recent years, social media has been flooded with juxtaposed images of former football stars in Nigeria, showcasing their contrasting lifestyles from the peak of their fame to their current struggles with poverty and homelessness. These posts, often shared by bloggers and social media users, aim to highlight the stark realities faced by retired athletes. 

However, amid the proliferation of such content, concerns have emerged regarding the accuracy and authenticity of these portrayals. While some of these images depict genuine instances of former footballers facing hardship after retirement, many others are marred by misinformation. 

An instance could be seen in a recent TikTok post shared by Yaw Blaq, where he claimed that Nwankwo Kanu, former Super Eagles captain, is now poor. Two merged images were attached to this post, describing, “Our brothers and sisters in Nigeria, is this true?”

The first image depicted Mr Kanu in his Super Eagles jersey, while the second showed him seated in an attempt to beg on the street. Three cars and a house were used as the background of the first image, and $950 million was written at the top. However, in the second image, the user wrote “BROKE.”

False! Homeless man in viral thumbnail, not Kanu
A screenshot of the post depicting Mr Kanu as homeless.

DUBAWA also discovered that this narrative has been circulated by various Facebook blogs, as seen here and here. Another, African Football, even claimed that Mr Kanu went broke after an alleged affair with a South African lady.

“We’ve been telling these ex-footballers to invest in businesses rather than women. I learnt Nwankwo Kanu is now broke after a South African Lady spent all his money and dumped him,” the blogger wrote.

DUBAWA conducted this fact check due to the subject’s prominence and the claim’s virality.


We searched through recent posts on Mr Kanu’s X and Instagram handles. On April 28, 2024, he shared a video inviting fans to an upcoming Charity Champions Cup organised by the Atton Foundation.

He said, 

“Hi, country people, it’s Kanu Papilo. Yes, I’m going to participate in the Charity Champions Cup by Atton Foundation on the 15th of June in Abuja. It’s a unique game. Come and see the legends play. Everyone will be there. Papilo is going to be there.”

Apart from that, it is worthy to mention that Mr Kanu is the current chairman of Eyimba, a Nigerian professional football club based in Abia state, and he has a four-year ambassadorial deal with Sportsbet.io, a crypto sports betting platform.

Furthermore, we found two YouTube videos that were suspected to be the source of the claim. With titles like “5 Nigerian Footballers Who Went Broke After Making Millions,” they both had this photo collage as thumbnails. 

A thumbnail is a reduced-size image used as a preview for full-size video content. YouTubers use this feature as clickbaits to lure viewers to their videos. 

False! Homeless man in viral thumbnail, not Kanu
YouTubers use Kanu’s images as thumbnails. 

We divided the images and conducted a reverse image search on the homeless man. This yielded no result as the photo has been overused, causing it to lose its metadata.   Subsequently, we zoomed out on the picture, carefully examining every detail. It was then that we spotted a label saying “alamy.” 

Alamy is a stock photo trading platform. We visited their website and conducted a keyword search, leading to the original version of the picture captioned “Black homeless beggar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.” While the unnamed man resembled Mr Kanu, the description clarified that it was not him.

False! Homeless man in viral thumbnail, not Kanu
The unnamed beggar was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Photo Source: Alamy.


Our findings refuted the claim that Mr Kanu is broke and homeless. The claim is false.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button