SPORT | English Premier League giants Arsenal FC have taken their love affair with Rwanda to another cloud adding Skol Breweries Ltd to as their partner, a deal that will see regional clubs associated with the beer company work closely with the London club.

The North London club announced Tuesday evening that it was delighted to welcome Skol Brewery Limited as “our regional beer partner in Rwanda.”

Ahead of the 2018/19 league season, Arsenal announced a million-dollar shirt sleeve sponsorship deal with Rwanda Tourism Board that has seen the official kit of the English side branded with ‘Visit Rwanda,’ a tourism slogan.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame is a staunch Arsenal FC supporter and once ignited debate on Twitter when he called for Arsene Wenger to either resign or be forced out, saying the French gaffer had outlived his usefulness at the club.

Wenger was relieved of his duties at the end of last season with the club startingd a new chapter under Unai Emery.

Kagame’s affection for the English club appears to be a boon for the country he leads as his tourism vision has been aligned with identifying with the global with a global following, a development Arsenal’s commercial director Peter Silverstone said they are delighted to identify with.

“The partnership is a direct result of our successful partnership with the Rwanda Development Board and re-affirms our affinity with Africa,” Silverstone said.

“We have nearly 90 million followers across sub-Saharan Africa, and we’re looking forward to connecting with new fans in the region whilst sharing our knowledge and experience, developing coaching programmes and helping Skol Brewery Limited Rwanda build their business.”

The deal will see Arsenal market Rwanda in the stadium, on its website and social media pages as well as during any engagements to global audiences.

The new deal with the Rwandan beer company, the club said, has been inked with plans to expand into other territories across Africa over the next two-and-a-half years.

“Skol Brewery Limited Rwanda already sponsor several clubs in the region and the partnership will involve Arsenal staff providing football consultancy services to offer guidance and advice to support the development of these clubs,” Arsenal said in a statement.

“We will be providing Skol Brewery Limited’s sponsored football teams with once in a lifetime trips to London to visit Emirates Stadium and receive coaching sessions with Arsenal coaches,” the club added.

Rwanda Premier League 2016/17 champions Rayon Sports are one of the topflight teams sponsored by Skol Breweries Ltd. As part of the agreement, Rayon Sports will benefit from coaching clinics to support grassroots football.

The club statement said Skol Brewery will promote the partnership through TV commercials, the production of special edition co-branded bottles and large scale on-pack promotions offering supporters the opportunity to win match tickets and official Arsenal merchandise.

“Fans will also be able to attend match screening parties and join newly created official supporters’ clubs,” it added.

Rayon Sports club players celebrate victory in a league match. The club is sponsored by Skol and is among those expected to benefit from the new partnership with Arsenal FC

Ivan Wulffaert, Skol Breweries Ltd general manager, said his company was “proud” of their approach to brewing and product quality.

“We always take that extra step to ensure the best experience for our customers and consumers. We are very happy and proud to partner with Arsenal FC as we view Arsenal as the team that takes great pride in their approach to football and the quality of their play on the pitch. A refined version of the great game,” Wulffaert said.

Skol Brewery Limited (SBL) is one of the only two local breweries in Rwanda and has been in the market since 2010 when the shareholding company first bought 50% of BMC Ltd and later upped this to fully own the company.

The brewery is a subsidiary of Unibra, a Belgium-based family owned company having activities in the brewery industry, real estate and financial services.

Unibra hold the usage rights for brand Skol in Africa and is involved in the beer business for seven generations.

Skol, a brand created in 1964 by Unibra and three partners, is sells over 45 million hectoliters internationally. Since its launch in Africa, in 1965, Skol has been spreading its wings and currently is available in six other African countries; DR Congo, Guinea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Mozambique.