Femi Solaja
Former Super Eagles captain, Nwankwo Kanu’s quest to raise young talents at home and abroad has become a reality with the First Residential Soccer camp scheduled to take off on August 1 with kids from all over the world in Toronto, Canada. The event is for children between 11 and 18 years.

The event put together by the Kanu Soccer Academy will have the camp divided into two phases with over 400 kids from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas go through intensive soccer training, moral and educational lessons.

The children will also be exposed to modern training methods, come in contact with their counterparts from other cultures and interact with soccer greats, particularly Kanu’s contemporaries during the active years of his illustrious career.

Players like Thierry Henry, Denis Bergkamp, Didier Drogba, Patrick Viera, among others were mentioned as some of the former stars to drill the kids. Each child is to pay $6,000 to be eligible to be part of the programme.

Coordinator of the camp, Abi Goodman, explained in Lagos yesterday that the first phase of the camp is to begin on August 1 through August 14, while the second phase is scheduled for between August 15 and August 28, 2016.

“It will afford the participating kids the opportunity to see modern football facilities, good training and good exposure,” she said, adding, “it is an avenue to sell Nigeria to the international community because the camp’s success would rub off positively on the image of the country.”

A Director of the Kanu Academy, Yusuf Chidama said, “the programme will provide a platform for the kids to exhibit their skills and, perhaps, further their careers in football. It is an opportunity for them to be noticed on an international platform.”
The Chief Executive of the Kanu Heart Foundation, Pastor Onyebuchi Abia, who is also involved in the programme said honing skills in kids was not new to the Kanu Soccer Academy. “Four years ago, the Kanu Heart Foundation started a programme with Greensprings Schools and it was a huge success as most of the kids travelled abroad and played against children from other similar academies.

“We are not new to handling kids. The likes of Kelechi Nwakali, who just signed for Arsenal passed through the Kanu Soccer Academy. So far, the responses we have been getting are encouraging,” Abia concluded on positive note.