Durban - July’s Manchester United trip to Durban will bring back bitter-sweet memories for a local student who lost a soccer boot handed to her by the team’s star player, Wayne Rooney.

Maxine Govender, 21, and her sister, Marcelle, had yelled their lungs out for an autograph when the team last toured South Africa in 2008, but received the player’s WR10 boots instead – much to their delight.

However, they were mobbed by other fans, who snatched the boots away. A marshall came to the girl’s rescue and managed to retrieve one boot.

Govender, now an honours law student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, is still football mad, and remains hopeful that her snatched boot will one day be returned to her.

Govender is still something of a Rooney fan, although she burst into laughter when asked what she thought about his £10 000 (R131 000) hair implants. “It’s nice, he looks young again,” she said, joking that his only goal in Euro 2012 was headed in via his “weave”.

But the star player looked a bit tired in Poland and Ukraine, at the Euro 2012, she said.

“The first game he played in he was fine because he scored a goal, but the second was not so good.”

She said Portugal star Miguel Veloso, and Fernando Torres of Chelsea, were her favourite players, and tipped the Spaniards to win the final on Sunday.

United will play Amazulu at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on July 18 – Nelson Mandela’s birthday. - Daiyl News