Gor Mahia in Dar es Salaam, ready for Everton

By alex wafula
Jul 12, 2017
  • Gor players arrive in Dar es Salaam. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Gor Mahia coach Dylan Kerr with players in training. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

  • Gor Mahia midfielders George Odhiambo and Anthony Mbugua (right) vie for the ball in training. (Photo by Alex Wafula)

Kenyan Premier League side Gor Mahia arrived in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on Tuesday afternoon ready for their historic friendly match against English Premier League opponents Everton FC on Thursday.

The squad of 28 players and seven officials touched down at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere airport, their eyes aimed at making an imprint against the Merseyside club.

“It is a big occasion for us because this game will be broadcast all over and it will be an opportunity for players to go out there and show what we have. It’s also an opportunity to get spotted by European teams."

"For us we have talent but its only the opportunity lacking. I am sure the boys will grab this opportunity with both hands,” assistant coach Zedekiah Otieno said."

The team had their first training session in Tanzania on Tuesday night where they had a feel of the new pitch at the National Stadium which had been manicured to European standards just for the Thursday match.

Otieno further said they are not afraid of a star-studded Everton side. The travelling contingent includes England’s all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney who has just moved back to Everton from Manchester United.

“At the end of the day on the pitch it is 11 versus 11. These are names they have built over a period of time and we have the opportunity for our players to showcase their talent and it’s always good to play at a big stage. I think our players will be up to the task and they are looking forward to it,” the tactician offered.

Learn from Everton

He has insisted that the team’s main ambition will be to learn from Everton who have been a force to reckon with in the English league. He added a win could be a bonus while try and match Everton’s tactics and beat them man on man.

Meanwhile, defender Harun Shakava is not afraid of facing Rooney who might be given his first appearance in an Everton shirt in Tanzania.

The Harambee Stars defender insists they will be motivated by the fact that they are playing against a world star and that will be enough to push them to perform.

“We also want to show that we have talent in this team as well. He is a great player who we always see on TV but here is a chance to play against him. As a team we are honored not only because of Rooney but all the players as well we will be facing. It is a huge challenge and one which will help us grow,” Shakava said.

The Everton match will be the first for new coach Dylan Kerr who took charge of his first training session on Tuesday night. The tactician who replaces Brazilian Jose Marcelo Ferreira was unveiled on Monday in Nairobi before the Dar sojourn.

Speaking to Sports News Arena, Kerr who returns to Tanzania after two years says he is excited coaching Gor. He coached Tanzanian top tier side Simba SC from 2014 to 2015.

“I am excited to be here. The staff, players and fans are amazing. I watched the match on Saturday and I must say this team has a lot of quality. Of course there are a few areas we need to work on but I am impressed with what we have here,” the Kerr stated.

Determined to learn

He added; “The players have drive and hunger to succeed and everyone at the club wants to win. That’s what makes a successful football club. I am determined to see to it that we can achieve some of these goals that we have set.”

Kerr who originally comes from England hopes his first time on the touchline will be met with a win when they face Everton on Thursday. He has challenged the players to go on and show their best against the Merseyside club.

“Go on out there and show that you can do it. It is a big challenge, a huge hurdle for the players but also an opportunity to show they can be among the best in the world,” Kerr, immediate former coach of the Chesterfield Under-18 team said.

Everton were due to arrive in Tanzania on Wednesday morning and will have a string of CSR activities before playing the match on Thursday.