Kanouté in a press conference in 2008
|Full name||Frédéric Oumar Kanouté|
|Date of birth||2 September 1977|
|Place of birth||Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon, France|
|Height||1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)|
|2000–2003||West Ham United||84||(29)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Frédéric Oumar Kanouté (born 2 September 1977) is a retired Malian professional footballer who played as a striker for several top-tier clubs in Europe, enjoying his greatest success with La Liga side Sevilla FC. Kanouté was named the 2007 African Footballer of the Year, the first player born outside Africa to win the award.
Kanouté began his career with Lyon in France before moving to West Ham of the Premier League in 2000. After a spell at their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Kanouté moved to Spanish club Sevilla where he won two consecutive UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007 in addition to various other European and domestic honours and remains the club's highest-scoring foreign player. He joined Beijing Goan in June 2012.
Despite appearing 16 times for France U-21, Kanouté was a member of the Malian squad which reached the semi-finals of the 2004 African Cup of Nations and also featured in their selections for the tournament in 2006 and 2010. His international career ended in 2010 with a total of 39 caps and 23 goals.
Kanouté's talents as a striker were first noticed by his local team, Olympique Lyonnais, and he joined them as an apprentice in 1997. He made his debut in the Intertoto Cup against Polish side Odra Wodzisław.
West Ham United
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In 2000, Kanouté was signed by English Premier League side West Ham United on an initial loan basis. He formed a solid partnership with Paolo Di Canio and after some promising appearances in the Premier League, Hammers manager Harry Redknapp made his move permanent. Kanouté had varying success at the Boleyn Ground, often praised for his ability, but also criticised for his laid back attitude. West Ham were relegated at the end of the season.
Kanouté was bought by Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of £3.5 million on 5 August 2003. He scored his first goal on 23 August, the winner in a 2-1 home league victory over Leeds, nine minutes after coming on for Bobby Zamora.
His first season was interrupted by a call-up for the 2004 Africa Cup of Nations for Mali. Tottenham tried to stop him going by asking FIFA whether Kanouté was eligible to play for Mali after representing France at Under-20 level.
Kanouté was unable to cement himself as a regular at White Hart Lane, as Robbie Keane and Jermain Defoe were preferred. He became a less prolific goalscorer and instead was involved in attacks by setting up various goals with runs at the defence and creating space for other attacking players.
Kanouté was sold to Sevilla on 17 August 2005 for €6.5 million. He was a second-half substitute for the club in the 2006 UEFA Cup Final against Middlesbrough and scored in the 89th minute as Sevilla won 4–0.
In the 2006-07 UEFA Cup, Kanouté's first games for Sevilla against Tottenham Hotspur led to him scoring a penalty at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in a game marred by crowd trouble, and a goal at White Hart Lane, leaving the final aggregate score 4–3 to Sevilla.
Sevilla's title challenge that year ultimately unravelled and Real Madrid took the title, with Kanouté's side in third. After that, he was a consistent member of the team, helping Sevilla qualify for a UEFA Cup position in 2008 and a Champions League direct qualification in 2009.
On 22 October 2011, during the 2011–12 campaign, Kanouté received two yellow cards against FC Barcelona for kicking the ball off the penalty spot, when Lionel Messi was due to take it. The second yellow was for an altercation between Kanouté and Cesc Fàbregas. Kanouté's farewell season in Spain was plagued with injuries as he participated in 26 matches, scoring four goals and assisting two others – he left at the end of his contract in the summer of 2012.
On 29 June 2012, Kanouté signed a one-and-a-half-year contract with Chinese Super League side Beijing Guoan. On 18 July 2012, he scored his first two goals in his team's 6–0 victory against Qingdao Jonoon in the Chinese FA Cup. In May 2013, Kanouté scored a brace in a Super League fixture against Tianjin Teda.
While playing for Lyon, Kanouté joined the French under-21 team. After turning 21 in 1998, Kanouté was not called up for the French national squad in 2000, 2002, or 2004. In 2004, FIFA changed its rules to allow a footballer to play for the national team of the country in which his mother or father was born. Although eligible for either, Kanouté elected to play for Mali rather than for France. Kanouté was joint top goal scorer for Mali at the 2004 African Cup of Nations. Kanouté scored four goals in four matches helping Mali to the semi-finals, where they lost to Morocco.
In October 2007, Kanouté, along with Mali international teammate Mamady Sidibe, were attacked by irate Togolese fans after they knocked Togo out of the African Cup of Nations qualifier. Frederic Kanoute announced his retirement from international football following Mali's elimination from the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
He has been practicing Islam since he was around the age of 22. He refused to wear a Sevilla shirt bearing the name of club sponsor 888.com, due to the fact the website is used for gambling, which is against the principles of Islam; this meant that the club had to give him a brand-free jersey every match. The company, however, agreed to excuse him from their publicity campaigns in return for Kanouté wearing the sponsored kit, which was part of the players' contractual duties. In 2007, Kanouté paid more than US$700,000 out of his pocket to buy a mosque in Seville. The contract on the premises had expired and the mosque was due to be sold. The Islamic community of Spain confirmed it had requested Kanouté's aid after the mosque was put up for sale.
Kanouté insists his faith has never presented itself as a problem in his relationship with the coaching staff, teammates or fans. He has stated that “Islam has helped me to be this way, so this is normal. It's a path you take to keep you calm, to help you think about the place you live in, to love your neighbour. It's strange when I hear about all these problems of terrorism because it's the opposite of what I understood for Islam.”
He observes fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. He has stated that “I can keep fasting in Ramadan even when I am playing...it is sometimes harder to keep the fast because here in the south of Spain it is very hot, but I can do it, thank God.”
After scoring a goal in a January 2009 Copa Del Rey match against Deportivo La Coruña, Kanouté lifted his jersey and displayed a black shirt underneath emblazoned with the word "Palestine". The action was interpreted by BBC sources as a protest against the Israeli Army operation in the Gaza Strip ongoing at that time. Kanouté was cautioned with a yellow card for displaying a political message, and subsequently fined around $4,000 by the league.
The Kanouté Foundation
Kanouté has also showed interest in a variety of humanitarian causes. In 2006, he launched an appeal to establish a "Children's Village" in Mali. This is now the well established Sakina Children's Village. Kanouté talks about his Foundation and the Village in the book, How to do good: Essays in Building a Better World, published in December 2016. He also took part in a speaker tour inspired by the book in 2017, speaking in Oslo, Stockholm, Paris and London alongside other humanitarians and philanthropists.
Statistics accurate as of match played 27 November 2013
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|France||League||Coupe de France||Coupe de la Ligue||Europe||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1999–2000||West Ham United||Premier League||8||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||8||2|
|Spain||League||Copa del Rey||Supercopa de España||Europe||Total|
|China PR||League||FA Cup||CSL Cup||Asia||Total|
|2012||Beijing Guoan||Chinese Super League||10||1||2||2||-||0||0||12||3|
- Scores and results list Mali's goal tally first.
- "Profile". www.kanoute.com. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
- "Kanoute named Africa's best".
- Kanoute leaves Sevilla for Beijing Guoan Goal.com, 30 June 2012
- Kanoute heads to China FIFA.com, 30 June 2012
- Johnson, William (5 August 2003). "All clear for Kanoute as Tottenham wrap up deal". The Daily Telegraph. London.
- "Kanoute grabs Spurs winner". BBC News. 23 August 2003.
- Clissitt, Ben (5 April 2007). "Where did it all go right for Fredi Kanouté?" – via The Guardian.
- "Sevilla beckons for striker Kanouté". UEFA.com. UEFA. 17 August 2005. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- Henderson, Charlie (16 May 2007). "Espanyol 2-2 Sevilla - Sevilla win 3-1 on penalties". BBC Sport. Retrieved 17 May 2007.
- Frederic Kanoute Claims Barcelona Star Cesc Fabregas Called Him a Terrorist (Video) CaughtOffside.com, 23 October 2011
- "Kanoute leaves Sevilla for Beijing Guoan". Goal.com. 30 June 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- "北京国安足球俱乐部与卡努特正式签约 (Beijing Guoan Football Club and Kanouté formally signed)" (in Chinese). Tagesspiegel. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
- Rob Hughes (14 January 2004). "The call of Africa causes loud debate". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the original on 9 May 2006. Retrieved 23 July 2006.
- "Caf to discuss Togo attacks" BBC Sport, 15 October 2007; Retrieved 15 October 2007
- "Kanoute retires after Mali exit" BBC Sport, 21 February 2010
- Minshull, Phil (12 December 2007). "Devout worshipper". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 December 2007.
- Din, Tusdiq (23 August 2011). "Fasting and football. How do top-flight Muslims cope?". London: The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
- Din, Tusdiq (24 August 2009). "Exclusive: I Can Keep Fasting In Ramadan Even When I Am Playing – Fredi Kanoute". Goal.com. Retrieved 1 January 2013.
- "Kanoute faces T-shirt fine". BBC Sport. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 8 May 2009.
- Kanouté the footballer and the man Frédéric Oumar Kanouté Official Website
- Philanthropy Age (2016). How to do Good: Essays on Building a Better World. London Wall Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9932917-9-1.
- Doyle, Paul (28 March 2017). "Fredi Kanouté: 'Muslims should not have to prove they are not terrorists before talking'" – via www.theguardian.com.
- "How to do good: Building a better world". www.howtodogood.global.
- "Frédéric Kanouté - Goals in International Matches". Archived from the original on 20 April 2015.