Rwanda football governing body, Ferwafa has moved to seal a football partnership with the French football club Saint Etienne with an aim of helping develop Rwanda’s football.
Three officials from the French Ligue 1 side, including chief of the recruitment Gerard Fernandez, the director of Academy, David Bernard, and physical trainer Sebastian Sanguier, arrived in Rwanda on Wednesday for preliminary talks with Ferwafa officials.
According to a source that attended the meeting held behind closed doors, the two parties discussed the possibility of Saint Etienne opening a football academy in Rwanda, and the FA sending players to France for professional trials with French Ligue 1 side.
This was the first of several planned meetings between two parties.
The next will be held when Ferwafa boss Celestin Ntagungira travels to France later this year.
Ntagungira said, “We have agreed in principle about the possibility of forming a partnership which could help in matters of football development in Rwanda, it would mainly revolve around sending players for professional trials in France and opening a football academy in Rwanda.”
Fernandez, director, St. Etienne Academy, said, “We want to help the Rwandan FA to develop the game, especially at the youth level. We have similar a partnership with Burkina Faso, so we hope that the talks will lead to something positive for both parties.”
In August, this year, Ferwafa signed cooperation pact with the Royal Spanish Football Federation which will directly benefit Rwandan coaches, players and referees.
The Rwandan FA sees grassroots and youth football as the single most important strategy that could help turn around its fortunes in football.
Rwanda’s only appearance at the African Cup of Nations back in 2004 in Tunisia and 2011 U17 Fifa World Cup held in Mexico remain the country’s biggest achievement in football.