ARSENAL football club legend Tony Adams has hailed the quality of football which was exhibited by African youngsters who attended the Airtel-Arsenal soccer clinic that ended yesterday at Kicukiro Turf.
Adams arrived in Rwanda on Thursday night with a mission to inspire youngsters under the Airtel Rising Stars programme to become football greats like him.
On his arrival, the former Arsenal defender took time to chat and take photos with fans who welcomed him at Kigali International Airport.
“I’m happy to be in Rwanda, the country seems to be beautiful, I look forward to explore other places. I’m here to represent Arsenal in the Airtel Rising Stars to try and promote youth football from the grassroots level,” Adams said on Thursday.”
On Friday, Adams concluded the Rwanda Airtel Rising Star season 4 and gave certificates and medals to youngsters who have been taking part in the clinic.
He said he was impressed with the way the kids' skills.
“They have the desire to play, possess good passing skills and they are fantastic. I believe if they continue to work hard they will reach far in their career of football,”
“They need to work hard, practice all the time and ensure discipline in everything they do. If they continue to have good training sessions, I believe they will be good footballers in future,” Adams said.
The football clinic offered 28 selected youngsters from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda, a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the ‘Arsenal Way of playing’.
The players benefited from intensive training sessions organised by UEFA-Certified Arsenal Coaches; Nathan Asare and Rupen Shah.
The courses were based on the same principles used at the club’s training ground, developing young players technical skills and passion for the game to ensure the players’ full potentials are realised.
Adams and the Arsenal coaching crew were later taken to Gisozi memorial site where they laid a wreath to commemorate victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
Today, Adams will launch the ‘Coach the Coaches’ three-day session for selected local coaches which will be held at Kicukiro Turf.
He will conclude his official tour by visiting the Mountain Gorillas in Musanze before jetting out back to England later at night.
Rwanda was represented by Sofi Niyomugaba, Sandrine Niyigena, Diane Umumararungu, Sudga Umwariwase all who play for the local AS Kigali FC Academy in the girls category while Djihadi Nzeyarwanda, Rashid Bigiraneza, Jack Ntwali and Patrick Ndikumana all from Isonga FC were in the boys’ category.
The Airtel Rising Stars pan Africa football programme attracted over 18,000 youth teams and 324,000 youth players across 16 countries in 2013.
Tony Adams, who played for the Gunners for 22 years and captained them for 14 years, winning over 10 major trophies including three league titles, is Arsenal’s second football ambassador to visit Rwanda. Last year, former defender Lauren Etame Mayer was also in Kigali for the same programme.