Onyebuchi Abia, the co-ordinator of the Kanu Heart Foundation, said the rangy former Arsenal forward and Super Eagles skipper was operated on at the weekend in Cleveland, Ohio, in the US mid-west.

"It was a corrective heart surgery," Abia, without specifying the nature of the ailment, was quoted as saying in a number of Nigerian newspapers.

"He normally goes for a medical check-up annually and it was during one of such checks he was operated on to correct a heart-related issue.

"He is now recuperating. I spoke to him on Sunday."

The 37-year-old first underwent heart surgery in the late 1990s to correct a faulty aortic valve.

The experience prompted him to set up a foundation to build five hospitals in Africa to treat undiagnosed heart disease and provide surgery.

At the weekend, the Nigerian government named Kanu among the 100 most distinguished Nigerians during a ceremony to mark the centenary of the unification of north and south Nigeria.