I will recommend my friends to visit Rwanda – David Luiz

David Luiz speaks to Arsenal fans in Rwanda during a 'meet and greet' event at Kigali Convention Centre on Saturday. / Craish Bahizi

Arsenal Football Club star David Luiz says that he has had a wonderful experience during his visit to Rwanda and promised to recommend his friends to visit the country.

“I’ve enjoyed everything in Rwanda since my first day, and I definitely would wish to come back in the future.”

The Brazilian defender said in a press conference that marked the end of his two-day visit at Kigali Convention Centre on Saturday evening.

Among other places, Luiz was the Kigali Genocide Memorial where he paid homage to the victims of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi before visiting the Volcanoes National Park. He was also received by President Paul Kagame at Village Urugwiro.

The player’s visit was part of the three-year ‘Visit Rwanda’ deal between the Government of Rwanda and the English club. It came into effect in May 2018.

“I got the opportunity to meet the majestic gorillas, and also visited many other places. I am going to recommend my friends in Brazil and Europe to spend their holidays in Rwanda,” said Luiz who joined Arsenal from Premier League rivals Chelsea in August.

As part of the Visit Rwanda deal, players from Arsenal men and women’s teams will visit Rwanda, while their coaches will host training camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country.

He added: “I came to Rwanda with the curiosity to learn about the country, considering what it went through 25 years ago. I have to say I was inspired by how fast it has bounced back.”

Rwanda Development Board (RDB) says that the Visit Rwanda partnership with Arsenal has drastically changed how people perceived the country.

“The partnership brought perception change. We are now known as a top tourism destination,” said Ariella Kageruka, the Head of Tourism and Conservation Department at RDB.

An independent survey conducted by Hall and Partners of 20,000 Arsenal fans across 30 markets found that as a result of the partnership, 51 percent of the respondents are more likely to consider Rwanda as a tourism destination.

Who will ‘Visit Rwanda’ next?

“Next to visit Rwanda will be three players from the Arsenal women’s first team. It’s a very good thing given that Rwanda is a country that promotes women empowerment,” Peter Silverstone, Arsenal Commercial Director.

Without specifying dates, RDB’s Kageruka said that the names of the three players will be announced in the near future.

Arsenal diehard fan Emmanuel Mfashimana, who attended the supporter meet and greet event, where Rwandan Arsenal fans met Luiz yesterday, told Sunday Sport, “We are very happy to meet someone we used to see on screens and be able to chat with him live.” 

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

ADVERTISEMENT