Kanu has the skills to light-up Wembley
Portsmouth play Cardiff in tomorrow's FA Cup final and my strong sense is that the Premier League side has too much experience, physical strength, organisational ability and class in forward areas to fall foul of an upset if they give it their maximum as they should.
Harry Redknapp has been very shrewd in the transfer market for Portsmouth and a major cup final place and a top-half league finish is testament to his experienced ability to build and organise a good football team.
He bought in a superb keeper in David James from Man City whose fitness levels are such that he will go beyond the best-before date of most goal-keepers. Former Arsenal and England star, Sol Campbell, is a champion-level centre-back and the acquisition of the consistent and athletic Sylvain Distin from Man City to partner him was a master-stroke. They are a very good centre-back combination.
Right back, Glen Johnson, is another great purchase - he looks to have focused properly on his football after looking to lose interest in the Chelsea squad and is now showing a level of football that deservedly has put him back in the reckoning for the England team. For me he has had a very strong season - and its great to see that a young guy of his talent is not letting it waste.
The trio of Muntari, Diarra and Diop in central midfield is very powerful, athletic and hard-working. To have these guys screening a a very solid defence is a massive reason why Porstmouth have had a very consistent season and been very hard to beat. Then on the wings there is the class of the Croatian international and reported Arsenal target, Niko Kranjcar, and the lightning fast Nigerian, John Utaka.
Finally Redkanpp usually goes with the one up-front option and I expect to see the magnificently skilful Nwankwo Kanu take the starting position tomorrow. I hope that Kanu can show some typical aweseome ball skills tomorrow and get a crucial goal - he is a man who career and ability deserves a big cup-final moment.
He was a nearly-man at Arsenal - overshadowed in the forward positions by the legend Dennis Bergkamp and the awesome Thierry Henry - and he left somewhat quietly in 2004 on a free transfer to WBA which I felt at that time was a club not appropriate for his ability and that the great former Ajax forward may be sliding prematurely into relative obscurity. Fortunately a guy wth such high talent was rescued from WBA reserves by ability-admirer Harry Redknapp - and both have prospered since. For me it will be something great to see the uniquely talently Nigerian striker show the world his sensational skills on a big stage tomorrow.
My feeling is 2-0 win will follow for Portsmouth. However, this is based on a lack of awareness of Cardiff City. I watched with appreciation their fine win over Middlesbrough and their workmanlike semi-final win over Barnsley - but I would like to know more about their qualities. If there are Cardiff supporters out there who can shed some light on this that will be very welcome? A view from Portsmouth supporters on their club's cup final chances would also be welcome.