BY: Justin KAYIRANGA
In 2018, it was announced that Rwanda has signed a partnership agreement with Arsenal FC which plays in the first division of the English Premier League.
The following year, a similar agreement was signed between Rwanda and Paris Saint-Germain.
While there may be some clauses that could separate the two agreements, one of the things they have in common is that they have agreed to promote Rwandan tourism through the VISIT RWANDA campaign.
The signing of the agreement is a bridge that will allow the teams to visit Rwanda and hold a pre-season camp in Rwanda.
So far, three years after the signing of the contract on Arsenal’s side, the big news that happened is that its player David Luiz has visited Rwanda in 2019.
Some others have come to Rwanda for various activities including promotion of the local talents in Rwandan football.
It is at this point that Paris Saint-Germain is now in the process of launching a football academy and some of the managers have been selected.
When will these teams hold Pre-season camp in Rwanda?
Based on the requirements for the teams to hold a Pre-season camp in an outside country, Rwanda may be up to 80% of requirements, in addition to having a relationship based on the above-mentioned agreements, which would make it a good candidate to host the camp.
In order for the international professional team to choose a venue for the retreat, there are a number of requirements:
Of course, even though the team is in retreat, the training activities continue, which is why the training ground is so important, and should be natural with original grasses.
Currently, most of the football stadiums in Rwanda use artificial turf, except the Amahoro National Stadium and the Ubworoherane Stadium in Musanze District in the Northern part of Rwanda.
Despite the fact that these sites have grasses, however, there are obstacles based on their location that cannot favour a retreat mood. Normally, a retreat is held in a place with less distractions such as meeting the fans, etc.
This seems to be a hindrance to the fact that these teams would come to retreat in the country of thousand Hills.
I would say that this is not a problem in Rwanda at all, because there are now high-profile hotels in Rwanda, including some of the most famous in the international arena. Of course, the issue of where these teams will be housed is not a big deal.
For hotels and accommodation, these facilities require additional facilities such as a swimming pool, a gym and more. When you arrive at these hotels you will find that they meet all the requirements.
Of course, a team that wants to go to a retreat to prepare for a tournament does not go to a place of unrest which is why security also comes in the process of choosing where the team will hold its camp session.
This means that Rwanda is an undisputed candidate due to the fact that security is perfect and especially that Rwanda is always one of the first countries in the world to be safe.
Among other things we need to mention the transport sector. You see no problem because the sector is professionally prepared especially when it comes to visitors.
Based on all of this, one wonders what it will take for at least one of these teams to hold Pre-season camp in Rwanda.
Personally, I see that as easy.
First of all Rwanda can.
I base this on the construction of the KIGALI ARENA sports complex that surprised many who saw its beauty and again was surprised by the fact that it was built in less than a year.
So because the agreement between Rwanda and these teams is based on promoting tourism including visiting gorillas, I find a good place for these teams to stay during their Pre-season Camp is in the Volcanoes National Park area because it is a quiet and there are also good international hotels that can accommodate the players without any challenge.
One of the problems with this area is that there is no stadium that meets the standards that these teams require. But I also don’t consider as a big problem
Don’t get me wrong, what I want to highlight here is for the Government of Rwanda to construct in that area a well-designed natural stadium with natural grasses so that the problem of the playground is resolved once for all.
The only thing missing is the construction of an training ground in that serene area of the Northern part of Rwanda.
NB: This is the opinion of Justin KAYIRANGA, a journalist of TOPAFRICANEWS. Justin has experience in sport journalism as well as in tourism.231