Rwandan president lashes out at Arsenal defeaton August 14, 2021 at 12:27 pm

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Paul Kagame, a committed Gunners fan, lashes out on Twitter at the club his government sponsors.

Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal during the Premier League match against Brentford, 13 August

image sourceGetty Images

Rwandan President and Arsenal fan Paul Kagame has vented his frustration at the club’s shock defeat by a newly promoted club on the opening day of the English Premier League season.

Brentford, after a 74-year absence from top-tier football, beat Arsenal 2-0.

Mr Kagame often comments on the Gunners – a club sponsored by his government.

After Friday’s away game, he tweeted: “We just must NOT excuse or Accept mediocrity. A team has to be built with purpose to win win win.”

In two further rapid-fire tweets, he demanded “a plan that really works” and lamented that “fans don’t deserve to kind of get used to this”.

Since 2018, the Rwandan government has had a controversial sponsorship deal worth more than £30m ($42m), which involves a “Visit Rwanda” logo displayed on Arsenal shirt sleeves.

Critics have said it is an example of the authoritarian leader of a poor, African country subsidising a wealthy football club. But the Rwandan government says the sponsorship more than pays for itself over in tourism revenue.

Paul Kagame (2019 picture)

image sourceReuters

Under President Kagame, the landlocked country has recovered from ethnic strife and genocide in the 1990s. In 2018 the World Bank praised its “remarkable development successes”.

But Mr Kagame has faced criticism at home and abroad over its political and human rights record.

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