ARSENAL FC legend Tony Adams paid a courtesy call on President Paul Kagame at State House yesterday afternoon from where he promised to be Rwanda’s ambassador in the development of football and sports in general.
Tony Adams was in Rwanda on a mission to inspire youngsters into becoming football greats like him and close the one-week ‘Arsenal Soccer Clinic’ for U17 footballers from different African countries.
Speaking to reporters shortly after meeting the President, Adams, who is in Rwanda for a three-day visit, extolled Kagame’s role in the development of football in the country and Africa at large
“We talked about football, Arsenal and the Emirates.....we also talked about what we are doing here, about developing young talent and giving them opportunities to rise as stars,” Adams said.
“He reminded me a lot about the late Nelson Mandela; he is humble and full of humility and it’s remarkable what he has done for this country. I think Rwandans feel so lucky to have such a great President and leader.”
The former Arsenal skipper and England defender presented a personalised Arsenal Jersey from Manager, Arsene Wenger, to President Kagame in recognition of his contribution to sports and football, and also for being a prominent Arsenal fan.
Adams was accompanied by the Minister of Sports and Culture Protais Mitali and Airtel Managing Director Teddy Bhullar.
Mitali explained that activities of the Arsenal Clinic Football Academy aim at nurturing future football stars and that President Kagame had commended the efforts.
“Tony Adams explained to the President the mission of the Airtel-sponsored Arsenal Clinic. The President thanked him as well as Airtel’s role in the development of youth football,”said Mitali.
“We are optimistic that this initiative will improve the standards of football in the country.” Mitali added that Tony Adams agreed to be Rwanda’s ambassador, not only in Arsenal but elsewhere across the world, so as to develop the sport.
“He was also happy with the way our country has improved in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and after visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, we believe this trip will leave him with a big lesson,” added Mitali.
Adams who jets out back to England tonight, launched the ‘Coach the Coaches’ session for selected local coaches at Ferwafa Turf yesterday alongside UEFA-certified Arsenal Coaches; Nathan Asare and Rupen Shah.
Airtel’s partnership with Arsenal is part of a three year sponsorship and mobile content agreement deal that allows select Airtel operations to tap into the football club’s deep reservoir of technical resources and youth development expertise.
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 in Kigali for the same program.