Rwanda could soon be the continental hub of Spain’s tiki-taka following plans by FC Barcelona to construct a high-end football academy in the country.
The $10 million (Rwf7.3 billion) RG Football Academy will operate like the famous Barcelona youth academy, La Masia, which holds more than 300 players.
La Masia is significant in the Catalan giants’ European success as well as the Spanish national team’s performances in the 2010 Fifa World Cup and also the 2008 and 2012 Euro Cups.
FC Barcelona ambassador, Luis Garcia, a former Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Liverpool star, said during his recent visit to Rwanda that the academy will be launched in December in Kigali.
“The RG Sports Academy will help in identifying and training the next generation of Rwandan players equipped with the philosophy of La Masia, which has nurtured the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Carles Puyol, Sergio Busquets and Lionel Messi in recent years,” said Garcia. “The only way to develop football in Rwanda and Africa at large is for people in the football sector to start working like we do in Spain on tactical, physical, psychological concepts,” he added.
Accompanying Garcia were Canary Islands-born Rayco Garcia Dauta, the CEO of the RG Football Academy and a former player with Real Madrid Castilla, the reserve team of Barca’s main Spanish rivals as well as legends match coordinator, Ambrose Tashobya. Rayco said the Rwandan academy will be run concurrently with a similar one in Uganda.
Activities at the RG Sports Academy kick off with the training of local coaches by Barcelona coaches. The training will be concluded by Johan Cruyff, a former Dutch professional player and manager who mostly recently managed the Catalonia football team.
Cruyff is one of the most famous exponents of the football philosophy known as ‘Total Football’ explored by Rinus Michels and is widely regarded as among the greatest players ever. He led the Netherlands to the 1974 FIFA World Cup final and won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.
Rwanda’s Minister of Sports and Culture, Ms Juliene Uwacu, thanked them for choosing Rwanda as one of the destinations to establish a high profile football academy. She stated that the Rwandan government was ready to provide land for the sports academy to be constructed.
“Soccer talent is all over the country. Government will certainly offer support towards promotion of football to facilitate a better livelihood among the youth,” said Uwacu.
The academy will be launched with a charity match between FC Barcelona legends and Rwanda Select XI team on December 6 at Amahoro stadium.
This article first appeared HERE