In a grand spectacle of sportsmanship and camaraderie, the Veteran Clubs World Championship (VCWC) presentation conference took center stage at the Azalai Hotel in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, on Wednesday, October 18, 2023.
The event, graced by the presence of esteemed football legends, marked the 9th and final stop of the international tour, affirming the anticipation building around sports, especially football, in the host nation of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023.
Welcoming the attendees with open arms was the renowned French football legend, Emmanuel Petit, who played for illustrious clubs such as Monaco, Arsenal, FC Barcelona, and Chelsea.
Petit’s stellar career adorned him with victories in The French Cup, FA Cup, Premier League, FIFA World Cup, and UEFA European Championship. His presence at the conference ignited the passion of football enthusiasts in Abidjan, setting the stage for a remarkable event in Rwanda.
Accompanying Petit were other revered former players who shared his fervor for the game:
Emmanuel Eboue from Cote d’Ivoire: Ex-Arsenal, Galatasaray, Sunderland…
Olivier Kapo from France: Ex-Auxerre, Monaco, Juventus, Birmingham…
Jean-Joël Perrier-Doumbé from Cameroon: Ex-Auxerre, Rennes, Toulouse…
Alain Gouaméné from Cote d’Ivoire: Ex-le Raja CA, FC Toulouse, and currently part of the coaching staff of the Ivorian national team.
The conference, a gathering of professionals from diverse sectors including sports business, entertainment, finance, telecommunication, and content production, was abuzz with anticipation. Attendees eagerly explored the myriad opportunities that VCWC Rwanda 2024 promises.
In her opening statement, Barrister Stephane Richmond, Honorary consul of Rwanda in Abidjan, emphasized the unifying power of sports. She stated, “Sport has always been a way of bringing people together, strengthening ties between countries, encouraging exchange, and dialogue.
With VCWC, we aim to highlight the significance of sports tourism in the economic development of our city and our country.”
During a heartfelt fireside chat, Emmanuel Petit expressed his gratitude and admiration for the unsung heroes.
He said, “I am inspired by the real Legends: the nurses, doctors, teachers, industrialists, farmers, and all these people who make the world a better place. They are the true heroes.”
The event marked the culmination of the LEGENDS VISIT RWANDA international tour, spanning nine cities in nine countries.
The tour featured 15 football legends who collectively played in over 25 football clubs across Europe and beyond.
With 472 participants from the private sector, public institutions, media, and development agencies, the tour made a significant impact, reaching an audience of over 1.5 million people through TV, radio, and online channels.
Fred Siewe, VCWC Chairperson, lauded the tour’s success, stating, “The tour has allowed us to spread the word about the upcoming inaugural edition in Rwanda. Our meetings with potential partners have provided valuable insights into their expectations.”
“We are grateful for the support from Rwanda Development Board, United Nations Rwanda, Rwandair, and different diplomatic representations of Rwanda in each country. Stay tuned for some major announcements in the coming weeks.”
The VCWC Rwanda 2024 presentation conference stands as a testament to the global appeal of football and its ability to unite nations, foster collaboration, and inspire positive change.
As the world eagerly awaits the tournament, the legacy of this event will undoubtedly echo far beyond the football field, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of sports enthusiasts worldwide.