Rodgers Ndegwa in Dar @PeopleSports11
Former England captain Wayne Rooney and his new Everton FC team-mates landed in Dar-es-Salaam to fanfare yesterday morning to a mega reception from the local football enthusiasts here, ready to open their pre-season tour with a clash against Kenyan giants Gor Mahia today.
Upon touching down at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, Everton were accorded a rousing welcome as business came to a stand still with English legend Rooney adding to the star-studded visit of the nine-time English league winners.
After the grand reception, the English Premier League club players were ushered into a specially branded bus to begin the ride to their hotel under heavy escort as fans lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the superstars.
The team is staying at the Five Star Sea Cliff Spa and Resport situated in the posh Mikocheni area where the cheapest room is Sh44, 000 per night (424 dollars a night). Former England captain Rooney is expected to start against the SportPesa Super Cup champions Gor for his first appearance since returning to his boyhood club on Sunday.
Everton coach Ronald Koeman left midfielder Ross Barkley out of his 25-man travelling squad to Tanzania with the England international said to be nursing a groin injury.
The Dutch manager also brought the Tofees’ new summer signings Davy Klassen and defender Michael Keane. Ramiro Funes Mori and Joel Robles are also recovering from knocks while record goalkeeper signing Jordan Pickford, Mason Holgate and Sandro Ramirez are rested after participating in the European Under 21 Championship. Everton are visiting Tanzania as part of the club’s appreciation for their historic title partnership deal with leading bookmakers SportPesa.