These children are beneficiaries of Tony Football Excellence Programme, a project owned by Israelis to develop players in their full cycle from an early age into professional players.
Gomes, 46, flagged off and watched the match between girls and boys from the sectors of Cyanika and Butaro who have been undergoing training through this programme.
The event was held at Turikumwe football pitch in Cyanika Sector on Thursday 16th March 2023.
It was attended by children from different schools and the Director of Tony Football Excellence Programme (TFEP), Yonat Tony Miriam Listenberg.
Through the agreement signed with Rwanda last year, TFEP is nurturing the Rwandan youth to become the global stars of tomorrow.
The project selects young talents starting from rural areas. It focuses on capacity building through workshops and training for local sports teachers, coaches and staff, construction of professional football centres and sports technologies.
Nuno Miguel Soares Pereira Ribeiro OIH nicknamed Nuno Gomes said that he was very happy to see children fond of football.
“I am glad to be here with Tony’s team to develop football here in Rwanda, particularly through this project,” he said.
“We need to develop African talents. In few years, we will be very happy to produce the best players in Africa,” added Gomes.
Nuno Gomes, is a Portuguese former professional footballer who played as a striker.
He established himself as a maestro while playing for different teams including Benfica from Portugal (1997–2000), Fiorentina from Italy (2000–2002), Braga from Portugal (2011–2012) and Blackburn Rovers from the United Kingdom (2012–2013).
Gomes represented Portugal in two World Cups and three European Championships.
He helped the national team finish second at Euro 2004 and third at Euro 2000, and won 79 senior caps.
He retired at the age of 37 on 28th June 2013. He was later named manager of Benfica Youth Academy until 2017.
Tony Football Excellence Program has been extended to primary schools in Burera District.
Kevin Cyuzuzo who has been playing football for two years at Muhabura Stars attests that he has made a significant progress. He dreams to play for Manchester City as his favourite team.
Patrick Uwineza,13, studying at Munini Primary School in Cyanika has also said that her skills improved.
“Our talents have been developed that I have started dreaming big. I want to become a prominent footballer like Messi,” he said.
Rwanda entered agreement with TFEP on 4th September 2022.
The TFEP aims to promote the objectives set by the Government of Rwanda in ‘School Sport Policy’ and ‘Sports Development Policy.
The Tony Football Excellence Program is an impact investment focusing on football talent development by educating children in sports. The program operates in various districts across the country to develop young talents in their communities.
The Cabinet Meeting held on 29th July 2022, approved agreements between Rwanda and TFEP to establish football academies in Rwanda.
The first phase of this project will be rolled out in five districts of Burera, Muhanga, Rutsiro, Rwamagana and Kicukiro.