Arsenal legend from the 49-game unbeaten Invincibles team, Laureano Bisan Etamé-Mayer, commonly known as Lauren, met and held a training clinic with sixty Rwandan kids on Wednesday at Amahoro Stadium.
Lauren, a Cameroonian by nationality who won two Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three Community Shields, one Olympic Gold, two Africa Cup of Nations titles with the Indomitable Lions and One La Liga Cup is in the country since Tuesday as part of the #VisitRwanda Partnership.
In presence of the Minister of Sports and Culture Julienne Uwacu, Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) Vice President Habyarimana Marcel and the Chief Finance Officer of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), Mark Nkurunziza, Lauren held training sessions with the children, answered several questions they raised and gave them motivational tips on how to excel to professional football ranks.
“It’s a pleasure to host Arsenal team led by their legend Lauren who is in Rwanda courtesy of the Rwanda-Arsenal partnership of promoting tourism and sports development in the country,” said Minister Uwacu.
“He met our kids as a way of encouraging them to play football and promoting their talents in general. He had an interactive training clinic with the kids as well as their coaches.”
For Uwacvu, it is a promising event because the kids have dreams of becoming professional footballers and by meeting such legends, it will be a motivating factor to further improve on the sport and how they perceive it.
“We are thankful to Arsenal FC and we hope to achieve more from this partnership in regard to the development of Rwandan football,” added Minister Uwacu.
The Arsenal Legend expressed his satisfaction about the training.
“I was very impressed with kids, the approach that they are being brought up. I would be quite happy if one of those kids get what they are being taught and progress to the professional ranks in Europe. We all know it’s not easy to become a professional player in these top leagues but the most important thing is to give kids a chance to play and improve their technical level,” Lauren said.
“With the help of authorities and Arsenal FC, we will be coming here once in a while to teach the kids the Arsenal way, the way we do things at Arsenal Fc as a club and in the administration.”
He is convinced that #VisitRwanda will attract people to come over here and visit the country and that will benefit all the Rwandans by creating jobs and increasing the visibility of Rwanda because Europe has the wrong impression of Africa.
“Rwanda has improved since the last time I was here six years ago and this is very good because we have to know that Rwanda has come from a difficult position, so it’s not easy to be in this kind of state after what tragically happened 22 years ago but slowly by slowly, Rwanda will get there and you can see that the development needed will be attained in a few years,” Lauren further added.
“We have been able to witness the future of Rwandan football and kids are very eager, they want to learn a lot from the legends, a feat which will improve their footballing career and we are so happy to stand with the Ministry of Sports and Culture to have the VisitRwanda partnership going forward,” Nkurunziza said.
The Rwanda Football Federation (FERWAFA) Vice President Habyarimana Marcel was happy with the partnership.
“We are so happy with this kind of initiative because it’s a good platform to have our young kids develop their football career. This partnership is pivotal in our football development strategy that we want to put much focus on because with a solid development structure, our football will improve to a more pleasing level,” added Habyarimana.
After the training clinic, lauren met Arsenal fans based in Rwanda and held light talks before taking memorial photos.
On 23 May 2018, RDB, through the Rwanda Convention Bureau, became Arsenal’s first official sleeve partner as part of Rwanda’s drive to become a leading global tourist destination in a deal which the London club was paid £30million ($40 million).
The three-year deal will also see ‘Visit Rwanda’ become Arsenal’s official Tourism Partner. The ‘Visit Rwanda’ logo will feature on the left sleeve of all teams next season.
Arsenal players from the men’s and women’s teams will visit Rwanda and club coaches will host coaching camps to support the development of the game for boys and girls in the country.
Visit Rwanda’ will gain global exposure through branding on match day LED boards at Emirates Stadium, interview backdrops and a broad range of other marketing rights.
Rwanda targets to generate enormously from Tourism that is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner. The country hopes revenues from the sector would double from more than $400m last year to $800m by 2024.