James Magayi @magayijim
English Premier League top-flight club Everton will field their first team against Kenyan champions Gor Mahia when the two sides lock horns in a friendly match at Goodison Park on November 6.
There were doubts over the squad strength K’Ogalo will face when they make their maiden appearance in England but match sponsors SportPesa have confirmed that Everton’s big names will be involved.
“We made it clear that Everton first team players will participate in the game and that dictated our choice of dates. We chose it carefully with that in mind and we have no doubt about it,” said SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer Kelvin Twissa.
Gor jet out on November 2 and play Everton four days later but K’Ogalo tactician Dylan Kerr, who is a member of the elite League Managers’ Association (LMA), is trying to fix another friendly match with a championship side on November 4.
All top English managers are members of the LMA and Kerr has reached out to them sourcing for a match. “I sent out an email to the LMA and convinced them that playing Gor will be worth it. I have a couple clubs that have expressed interest although they are based in London, which is far from Liverpool. We will, however, work on the logistics and play one more game,” said Kerr.
Scottish giants Rangers, managed by Liverpool legend Steven Gerard and Gary McAllister will attend the Goodison duel with options of signing deserving players from Gor. It is difficult for English teams to sign Kenyan players due to the low FIFA ranking of the country but Scottish clubs have no such restrictions.
“The game will market Kenyan, Rwandan and Burundian players in Gor. A lot of clubs cannot sign immediately but January is not far and that will grow the game if the players step up to bigger leagues. We are going to give a good account of Kenyan football over there so we must be ready,” added Kerr, who also blew wide the race for places in Gor’s troupe to the high-profile trip.
Just 18 players will be selected for the trip and Kerr says selection will be based on performance in the remaining six league matches.
Motivation levels at K’Ogalo have dropped after they won the league title last month and got knocked out of CAF Confederation Cup but Kerr wants a fully competitive squad to face Everton.