Rwanda: PSG Academy Opens in Rwanda

(file photo).
28 November 2021

French football giants Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, November 27, inaugurated a new academy in Rwanda.

The academy, which will operate in Huye district, Southern Province, is a flagship programme of the partnership between Paris Saint-Germain and Visit Rwanda, which aims at giving football hopefuls the opportunity to fulfil their potential in top-class sporting facilities with coaches specially trained by the club.

This season, a total of 172 children, boys and girls aged between 6 and 16, are taking part in the academy's project. They were selected during scouting sessions attended by 2,000 children.

The inauguration event of the academy was attended by French ambassador to Rwanda, Antoine Anfre, Sports Ministry's Permanent Secretary, Didier Shema Maboko, PSG delegation led by the head of PSG academies globally, Nadia Ben Mokhtar and club legend Rai Oliveira among others.

Speaking at the academy opening ceremony, Maboko hailed PSG's commitment to contributing to the development of Rwanda football through opening an academy in the country as a platform for young talents to go professional at a young age.

"The introduction of specialized training to Rwandan football technicians and coaches is an added advantage to Rwanda's football development. The government is committed to continuing the development of this program so that it can reach its intended objective," said Shema.

PSG Academy is completely free and has the mission of training future talents and encouraging Rwandan youngsters to play football.

For one season, the selected youngsters for the academy will have the opportunity to train in a Rwandan first-division stadium. The training sessions will be led by local staff trained by the club and are designed by the club's Technical Director according to each child's skill level and in keeping with the Paris Saint-Germain style of play.

PSG Head of Brand Development, Nadia Benmokhtar, said club's academy project as important to the club and a fruit of a long-term collaboration with our partner Visit Rwanda while she hopes it will play an impact in boosting the club's presence in Africa.

"We are delighted to open this new academy in Rwanda. It marks a new stage in the development of football in Rwanda and will make it easier for many young Rwandan players to access top-level apprenticeships," she said.

Every year, around 500 additional children will be invited to take part in courses or one-off events organised on the site, in order to give them a taste of the PSG experience.

During the launch, PSG legend Raí Oliveira met the young talents selected to join the academy and shared his experience on his rise to becoming a great footballer from his young age.

"At age 14, a professional football club gave me a chance after seeing me play in the street. At the time, there were no organisations like this. The creation of this academy is very emotional for me as it echoes my own experience," he said.

"This academy gives many young people a fantastic opportunity to fulfil their potential. I am delighted to have met them and wish them great success for the future," he added.

The PSFG academy is part of a three-year sponsorship deal that was signed between Rwanda and the French football superclub in December 2019.

With the partnership, among other agreements, PSG promotes Rwandan brands and the country as a tourism destination of choice while the academy is specifically part of a unifying project that plays a role in football development in Rwanda.

It opens operations after being postponed for a number of times owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

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