Manchester United soccer star Nani isn’t coming to Brandon, and neither is the Rowland Soccer Academy.
According to emails obtained by the Brandon Sun, there weren’t enough children between the ages of eight and 18 register for the camp to bring the Portuguese midfielder, who helped his home country to a semifinal appearance in this month’s European championship, to Manitoba. Organizers tried to continue to run the camp without Nani, but the number of participants did not make running the camp viable.
The camp was supposed to run in Brandon and Winnipeg from Wednesday through Sunday, July 8. Participants were to receive 12 on-field sessions that improved their passing, defending, dribbling and shooting skills. They were also supposed to get merchandise.
Bonnie Heide’s son registered her son, Kaeden, in the Brandon camp. She said her son, who plays for the Westman under-16 Fury club, was disappointed when he heard Nani couldn’t come and then when the camp was ultimately cancelled.
“Our son was looking very, very forward to go to the camp,” said Heide, who lives in Killarney and was planning to car pool with two Fury teammates from MacGregor for the camp. “As soon as he heard Nani wasn’t coming, he was like no (I don’t want to go). Then we said you’d probably still pick up the skills and stuff even though he’s not going to be there so we’d send him, but that didn’t work either.
“… He was disappointed and he wasn’t too gung hoe to go without Nani being there, but if it would have gone ahead we still would have sent him just for the experience, but it’s disappointing.”
The emails say the Rowland Soccer Academy is planning to reimburse families for their initial deposits to participate in the camps.
Numerous phone calls to the soccer academy made over the past three days were not returned.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 30, 2012