Football

FC Metz and Chad: A match made in heaven?

Published 1008 GMT (1808 HKT) September 7, 2016
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FC Metz President Bernard Serin appears with Chad Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Betel Miarom to announce the sponsorship agreement, which will see the French club play with "Chad: Oasis of the Sahel" on the team shirts.

Chadian officials believe the deal will improve their public image and encourage tourism to the Central African state.
FC Metz
FC Metz were promoted to French top flight Ligue 1 this year but needed a new sponsor after a previous deal expired. Pan-African media group LC2 made first contact with the club to propose Chad. FREDERICK FLORIN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
FC Metz have strong links with African football, having established the "Generation Foot" academy in Dakar, Senegal in 2000. Young players from Chad will now have access to the academy. Generation foot
The academy has produced many stars such as Liverpool's Sadio Mane, seen here scoring against Arsenal. Michael Regan/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
Bernard Serin says that FC Metz will also send a delegation of coaches and technicians to Chad to assist the development of soccer in the country. FC Metz
Soccer is by far the most popular sport in Chad, and is played across the country, including during this game in Habile refugee camp. Uriel Sinai/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images
However, many Chadian analysts have attacked the deal as an irresponsible waste of money at a time the nation's economy is contracting, and poverty is spreading, with widespread water shortages.

Betel Miarom claims that LC2 Media is funding the deal, and denies that the government is spending public money.
ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Efforts to promote Chad as a tourist destination have been hampered by outbreaks of terrorism, including suicide bomb attacks in the capital N'Djamena.

Many western countries have issued warnings to their citizens against traveling to the country.

Chadian officials believe that soccer can help neutralize the image problem.
BRAHIM ADJI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Instances of countries sponsoring soccer clubs have become increasingly common, such as Azerbaijan's sponsorship of Atletico Madrid. GERARD JULIEN/AFP/AFP/Getty Images