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Youri Djorkaeff inspires young football talents in Rwanda

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Photo Credit: Paris Saint Germain[/caption]e-1120955″ />
The football legend from France; Youri Djorkaeff who won the FIFA World Cup with the French national team better known as Les Bleus in 1998 and who played for several top clubs including Strasbourg and Monaco (both of France), Inter Milan of Italy, Kaiserslautern of Germany, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers of England, New York Red Bulls of USA and also Paris Saint Germain of France; was in Rwanda recently and on the last day of his visit (Tuesday, the third of March 2020), he had a meet and greet with young Rwandan children who are passionate about and who play football for academies.

The multilingual midfielder who spoke in French and English and took questions in both languages from the children and the press, touched on several issues from his footballing career, his present role, advice to the children and the impact of the Paris Saint Germain –Visit Rwanda three-year deal.

After the Chief Tourism Officer of Rwanda Development Board; Belise Kariza made the opening remarks and paraphrasing her, she said that the partnership between PSG and Rwanda is a unique opportunity for both parties and a unique opportunity for Parisians and French citizens to experience Rwanda.

She also stated that Rwanda’s openness to citizens of France and the world is again seen with this partnership and that Rwanda is open to and for business.

Furthermore, she revealed that part of the partnership is the opening of PSG’s Academy in Huye in the Sothern Province of Rwanda.

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Youri Djorkaeff commenced by saying that it was a great honour for him to be in Rwanda again. And he felt proud of the children. He went back to his early years as a budding footballer stating that ‘when I was young, what was important was team sport.

The feeling of belonging to a team (wins, draws and losses). I started as a substitute but what I was able
to bring to the team was my skills.’ After the brief conversation with the moderator Regis Isheja; the young children who are aspiring footballers with the academy asked the former PSG player series of questions which Youri Djorkaeff responded to.

To one of the questions posed by one of the children, the World Cup winner stated that ‘when you have a dream and you are passionate about a dream; you would always find someone who says it is not possible. But I tell you, it is possible.’

The former French International who has been in Rwanda twice in three months and is also the CEO of FIFA Foundation was asked what this latest trip meant to him. He replied by stating that the trip came with a purpose which is the Rwandan youth.

Asked what it felt like to play with several talented stars in his illustrious career; he said that it was a privilege to play with all of them. When one of the youths asked him what he felt playing at Paris Saint Germain’s Parc De Prince Stadium; he replied; ‘it felt to be home. It was my place.

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When I signed at 26; I felt at home.’ Answering another question bordering on Rwanda; Djorkaeff stated that the country Rwanda is fantastic and that he had a great time Gorilla trekking and seeing the Gorillas in their natural habitat. For me, what stood out was and is the people of Rwanda.

I have travelled the world and the people of Rwanda are very special and unique.

The uniqueness of Rwanda is the people, so said Youri Djorkaeff.

Further buttressing the comments by Rwanda Development Board’s Chief Tourism Officer Belise Kariza; the former midfield maestro stated that one of the spin-offs of the PSG – Visit Rwanda partnership is an academy. We are building an academy which would equip the youth with vision, techniques, topmost performance et al.

Asked about how he viewed African players he played with and against; Youri Djorkaeff stated that African players are completely different. And to the question asked by a female journalist about why no African country had won the World Cup; paraphrasing him, the FIFA World Cup 1998 winner had this to say; ‘to win the FIFA World Cup; Africa needs to have strong leagues in their various countries.

With several strong leagues; the best and brilliant African players would be playing in the various different leagues on the African Continent.

This way, these gifted players would ply their trade more on the Continent.’

Some of the planned football development projects that would be implemented in Rwanda are Football Educate and FIFA Football For School.

During the Champions League match PSG and Borussia Dortmund of Germany on Wednesday, 11 th of March 2020 at Parc de Prince Stadium; a coffee activation would be launched whereby Rwandan coffee can be purchased by football fans who visit the stadium.

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