Arsenal fans welcome Rwanda-Arsenal deal
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Arsenal will have all their teams wear u2018Visit Rwandau2019 on the sleeves of their jerseys. / Courtesy photo

ARSENAL fans in Rwanda have welcomed the newly announced partnership between Rwanda and the topflight English Premier League football club.

The three-year deal will see all Arsenal teams wear ‘Visit Rwanda’ on the left sleeves of their shirts during matchdays.

The deal was announced by both Arsenal Football Club and Rwanda Development Board (RDB) Wednesday morning.

Many Rwandans, including those who rarely keep up with the world of football, quickly took to social media to express their excitement.

Speaking to Times Sport yesterday, the president of Arsenal fans in Rwanda, Jean Marie Mukasa, said the partnership deal is welcome news to local Arsenal supporters and football fraternity at large.

"This is great news, we are very surprised and excited at the same time. We hope to host Arsenal players or the entire team one day,” he said. "The country has demonstrated capacity to host big soccer events; we look forward to watching them playing live in Rwanda soon.”

Under the sponsorship deal, ‘Visit Rwanda’ becomes the club’s official Tourism Partner, with the ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo featuring on the left sleeve of all their teams next season.

Arsenal’s new kit for season 2018/19 was unveiled on May 22.

According to an Arsenal statement that announced the deal yesterday, their men and women’s teams will visit Rwanda while club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country.

Jean Luc Imfurayacu, an Arsenal fan in Kigali, said of the three-year deal: "This creates a real possibility of hosting and watching Arsenal playing in Rwanda. Our football administration should also seize the opportunity and get the most of the partnership.”

The Arsenal shirt is seen 35 million times a day globally, the club said in a statement announcing their agreement with RDB, the London club’s first sleeve deal.

"This deal goes beyond football, it will cement Rwanda’s position as a leading tourism destination,” Imfurayacu observed.

Patrick Kagame, another Arsenal fan, said: "This is something big, I am looking forward to see the partnership starting to bear fruits.”

Last year, Rwanda received 1.3 million visitors and created 90,000 jobs, according to RDB.

The sector is Rwanda’s largest foreign exchange earner.