Arsenal will tour Uganda in 2019 according to the Uganda National Council of Sports Chairman, Bosco Onyik.

The tour will be the first time Arsenal have played in the country and only the third time they will have played in Africa, having travelled to Egypt previously as well as South Africa in 1964 and then again in 1993.

Image produced by Arsenal in 2013 detailing countries they had played in until that point

“We went to London last month on January 16th and had three meetings with management of Arsenal FC with the aim of partnering with them,” Onyik told Xinhua.

“We agreed that they will train some of our coaches, give the Uganda Cranes [the] chance to train at the Emirates Stadium in London, build an academy and also have their team to visit in June next year to tour Uganda and play some matches.”

NCS chairman John Bosco Onyik (C) talks to UAF president Dominic Otucet (L) and former world junior champion Julius Achon at Lugogo yesterday. Photo by Ismail Kezaala
NCS chairman John Bosco Onyik (C) talks to UAF president Dominic Otucet (L) and former world junior champion Julius Achon at Lugogo yesterday. Photo by Ismail Kezaala

While this is being reported as a ‘confirmed’ arrangement, Onyik also told URN, [Uganda radio network], that the arrangement was agreed ‘in principle’ which is not quite the same as confirmed.

“We agreed in principle that Arsenal FC will visit Uganda next June, but we are not sure as yet if they will also play an international friendly game,” Onyik said.

Arsenal were expected to play a game in Nigeria in 2012, however that was cancelled after ‘complexities’ emerged. At the time, Arsenal marketing director, Angus Kinnear said, “Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging.

“With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit.

“We have a huge and loyal following in Africa, and we are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer. However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria.”

Arsenal were then expected to travel to Nigeria the following year, however they travelled to Asia instead, including trips to Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia.

In 2017, the Arsenal Foundation partnered with the Family of Hope, a school for children with special needs in the country. Last month, it was revealed that the club helped to build a pitch for the students – the first in the local area.