Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) , a football club based in Paris, France is the country’s most successful soccer club. PSG has won more than 40 official honours, 9 league titles and one major European trophy.
The Paris Saint-Germain football academy is set to be officially launched in September 2021. The academy is to be located in Huye District in the Southern Province of Rwanda. The academy is part of a sponsorship deal between Rwanda and Paris Saint-Germain. The sponsorship deal was signed in December 2019 and is set to last for 3 years.
The partnership has been eminently beneficial to Rwanda because not only does it cover football development in the country, but it also involves aspects beyond football such as tourism and exports. Apart from setting up the football academy in the country, Rwanda was the exclusive supplier of tea and coffee at Parc des Princes in the 2020 season. Parc des Princes is the official home stadium of the Paris Saint-Germain football club.
Moreover, Rwanda was marketed as a brand through the “Visit Rwanda” tagline that was printed on backdrop banners. To facilitate selection, Paris Saint-Germain contracted a team of Rwandan coaches to choose young players for the academy and the selection is set to continue until August 2021. 18 football coaches from Rwanda underwent an intensive course. At the end of the rigorous course, only 5 of the coaches were chosen to be the coaches of the academy.
Young players are selected from 18 secondary schools and 8 talent detection centres across the Huye District. The selection criteria for the players include both male and female talents aged between 6 years and 14 years
In choosing the talent to be enrolled in the academy, the coaches have employed a selection criterion based on 5 skills namely technicality, motor skills, engagement in the game, availability and understanding of the game. Technicality covers an individual player’s technique and how they control the ball. With motor skills, the coaches are keen on observing one’s spread and agility in the game. The testing points for engagement with the game includes checking on the player’s attitude, tenacity, aggressiveness, and passion in the game.
Regarding availability, the coaches focus on the player’s occupation on the pitch and which positioning suits them best. All these factors are put into consideration by the coaches during recruiting.
Each skill weighs 4 points and the talents who score well in every department are picked and proceed to further selection stages. The selection, which is still ongoing, has been taking place since June and so far, more than 1,000 football players have been selected. At the end of the selection, 200 players are set to be chosen for the first intake of the Paris Saint-Germain academy.
After selection ends, the players who would have made it into the academy will be required to attend daily training sessions at the Huye stadium where the PSG academy training base will be located. All training and important equipment needed will be provided by the academy.
Paris Saint-Germain will send coaches to train the Rwandan coaches in charge of the academy. The coaches will be trained on the methodology used in all PSG academies around the world. The selected players in turn are set to be trained based only on the PSG Academy’s universal method.
The project has recorded a massive demand from parents who wish to enrol their children into the academy, however, since the scope of the pilot project is Huye District, selection occurs only in schools and football centres within the district. However, the academy is set to extend to other parts of Rwanda and more young football players will be able to expose their talent. This future extension is in line with the PSG-Visit Rwanda agreement.
The sponsorship deal between Rwanda and PSG has brought about a myriad of benefits. It has brought about economic progression and more importantly, it is nurturing the young football potential in Rwanda and establishing solid football practices.
All in all, besides the mentioned benefits, the academy presents an opportunity to unite in the region during the implementation of the project and to develop football and the sport’s values in Rwanda.
Content writer at Cue Africa. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org LinkedIn: Selina Liyengwa.