“Weak and bullied,” was how Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher described Arsenal’s defending when Brentford scored its second goal in the newly promoted team’s 2-0 victory.
“Even by Arteta standards, a new low,” added Morgan referring to the Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. “I can’t do this for the next nine months.”
Carragher’s comment and Morgan’s tweet might be brushed off by Arsenal’s hierarchy as a passing media storm, but the fact that Rwandan President Paul Kagame was moved to tweet three times after the Gunners’ defeat is arguably more embarrassing.
The partnership also allows the East African country to “gain global exposure through branding on matchday LED boards at the Emirates Stadium [Arsenal’s home ground], all the interview backdrops and a broad range of other marketing rights,” according to the website.
“The game itself aside Arsenal and the fans don’t deserve to kind of get used to this,” continued Kagame, who went on to criticize Arsenal’s transfer strategy.
“It’s been a struggle of about decade(s) — ups&downs — more downs until this point. Can’t we have a plan that really works?? One part to look at is how we deal in the market — players we buy to execute the plan. The touch&go mentality does not bring change.
Wenger was Arsenal’s manager for 22 years before he stepped down in 2018. He was succeeded by Unai Emery and Arteta, but the club’s drift has continued.
Arsenal announced a three-year tourism partnership with the East African country in May 2018.
“The media has been speculating around £30 million but what I can tell you it’s not £30 million ($41.5 million), it’s less than that,” CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, Clare Akamanzi, told CNN at the time.
“Thirty-five million people (will be) viewing their (Arsenal’s) shirts every single day,” Akamanzi said.
When the sponsorship deal was announced, critics said the money should have been spent alleviating the chronic poverty in the country.
“The public have a right to know how our aid budget is being spent, and the people of Rwanda have a right to know how their president is spending their money.”
Arsenal did not respond to CNN’s request for comment — by phone and email — on when and whether the sponsorship deal had been renewed and Kagame’s criticism of the club’s transfer policy.
Visit Rwanda didn’t respond to CNN’s request for comment about the partnership deal.
‘Blame the owners’
This isn’t the first time Kagame has tweeted about Arsenal.
When Wenger stepped down as manager three years ago, Kagame said “this should not have been the kind of ending of an era.
“The coach is leaving and club trophy-less it was long coming! I am still a committed fan going forward. Blame the owners.”
The relationship between Arsenal and Rwanda has also raised eyebrows given allegations of systemic human rights abuses in the East African country
“The ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) continues to target those perceived as a threat to the government,” according to Human Rights Watch. “Several high-profile critics have been arrested or threatened and authorities regularly fail to conduct credible investigations into cases of enforced disappearances and suspicious deaths of government opponents.”