It is no secret that President Paul Kagame is a diehard fan of Arsenal Football Club, but the Head of State has been among the ‘disappointed’ fans who feel the club’s performance has declined over the years, often expressing his desire to see the Gunners win things.
However, on Saturday, August 1, it all changed when Arsenal beat arch-rivals Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley Stadium to claim the 2020 FA Cup after a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang double sealed it for the North Londoners.
President Kagame took to Twitter to express his happiness for the long-awaited win which will ensure that Arsenal plays in Europe next season.
“Bravo, Congrats ARSENAL for a well-deserved and needed win -FA CUP. We, FANS and supporters kept Faith in you…going forward let’s aim at much bigger things. WE CAN… !!!” President Kagame tweeted.
It is a double win for Rwanda, this being the first title won by the English club since the country entered a 3-year partnership with Arsenal to promote ‘Visit Rwanda’.
Clare Akamanzi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the government body charged with promoting tourism and investment, who was closely following the game, agreed with President Kagame that indeed Arsenal can win even bigger titles than the FA Cup.
Akamanzi also posted a ‘heart’ for Aubameyang following the 2nd goal which ensure that the game ended 2-1 in favour of Arsenal.
For many who were watching, the ‘Visit Rwanda’ inscription stood out on the kit for the final as not by Travel Writer Tom Chesshyre while many others pointed out that ‘Visit Rwanda’ was standing out during the game played with empty stands.
President Kagame has often commented on the team’s performance over the last few years saying that change was needed in all aspects. He made the comments during an interview with the New African Magazine Editor, Anver Versi.
The Head of State said that he was not impressed by the Gunners performance in recent years, whether it is in the English Premier League (EPL) and in Europe
President Kagame said that he has often criticized the performance of the team especially when Unai Emery was the head coach of Arsenal and said that something needs to be changed.
“Arsenal used to be in the top three teams to qualify in the Premier League but its performance downgraded with time to a point it is ranked 10th now. Something needs to change,”
Following the sacking of the Spaniard Unai Emery last year, President Kagame seemed to have confidence in the new manager Mikel Arteta, saying that he expected an improvement given that the new manager knows the club and its values more than his predecessor.
He said Arteta needed support from the club, in terms of buy players and it appears the confidence has paid off with the FA Cup win.
“I still am a big fan of Arsenal and I am hoping they will win more championships in the future. As a fan, I have no say to how the players should perform but I can only watch with the hope they will win. I will keep supporting them regardless,” he said during the interview.
President Kagame has also been openly backing the ‘Visit Rwanda’ partnership with Arsenal, pointing out that it has already greatly boosted tourism and investment -stating that the deal proved to be value for money for the country.
President Kagame was not alone in celebrating the Arsenal win. Malawi’s new President Lazarus Chakwera also took to the microblogging site to congratulate the London club.
“It feels great to see the Arsenal winning, a sweet victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, my favorite kind,” the Malawian leader tweeted.