Following a fruitful partnership with Arsenal, Rwanda – through Rwanda Development Board – last week inked another remarkable deal, this time with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
Commonly known as PSG, Paris Saint-Germain are arguably the most successful French club.
The three-year deal, similar to that of Arsenal signed last year, will promote Rwanda as a tourist destination and Rwandan brands in Paris, particularly at their stadium – the Parc des Princes.
But, that is not just it. The club will also establish a football academy in Rwanda.
In close collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Rwanda Football Federation (Ferwafa), coaches from PSG will be visiting the country to train youngsters, and upgrade technical knowledge of youth football coaches.
Regis Uwayezu, the Ferwafa Secretary-General, says that, just like the Arsenal partnership, the deal will mainly benefit grassroots programmes, and he believes it also provides a platform and hope that “we could one day see a Rwandan footballer in top European leagues.”
PSG superstars Neymar (R) and Kylian Mbappe chat during a past training at the Parc des Princes. As part of the deal, PSG players will be visiting the country to promote the VisitRwanda brand. Net photo.
“We have no much details – or timeline – yet, but we look forward to the establishment of the academy,” said Uwayezu.
For Jacques Kayisire, the founder of Dream Team Football Academy, the PSG academy will come with many benefits, but it’s also a challenge for those in charge at home.
“The academy will open up market opportunities for Rwandan youngsters. Many scouts and experts in youth football are likely to visit the country, and that may see some of the best talents transferred to advanced academies in Europe.”
“The people in charge should put in place a proper programme, this is the future of our football. If it is well-planned and neatly executed, maybe more sponsors can also come on board.”
When the Arsenal deal was signed in May 2018, Kayisire, a retired footballer, says that many people from Europe, Asia and America contacted him asking about investment opportunities in local football, and he is optimistic that more will be interested because of PSG.
“Signing such deals that just market the country, it’s also good branding to local football.”
According to Felix Gakumba, a senior sports journalist, the partnership is not only commercially meaningful, but it will also be of great impact if PSG coaches pass their knowledge and skills on to academy trainers in Rwanda.
“Our local coaches will be able to share a great deal of knowledge acquired from PSG clinics to their trainees. Preparation is very important in football, and that is what has been lacking.”
“Our young talents need skilled and qualified coaches if Rwandan football is to give good results in the future.”