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Kenya/Tanzania: K'ogalo Plot to Upset Everton in Friendly

Kenya/Tanzania: K'ogalo Plot to Upset Everton in Friendly

Everton's England striker Wayne Rooney, centre, greets officials upon arrival at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Airport in Dar es Salaam on July 12, 2017.
Dar es Salaam — The just-refurbished 60,000-seater national stadium in Dar es Salaam is on Thursday expected to fill to capacity when 15-time Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia face English Premiership side Everton in a ground-breaking pre-season friendly.
After days of anxiety among fans, Everton striker Wayne Rooney and his teammates arrived in Tanzania on Wednesday.
The England captain is returning to Everton, where he began playing football, after recently ending a long and illustrious career at EPL giants Manchester United.
The Toffees touched down at Julius Nyerere International Airport at 9am to a warm welcome for one of their players, Congolese Yannick Bolasie.
  RECOVERING
Bolasie, who is recovering from a serious knee injury, is one of the team's key players.
Even though he is unlikely to play again until Christmas after undergoing two operations to repair his meniscus and cruciate ligament respectively, he was the player many soccer fans most wanted to see.
Tens of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) fans living in Tanzania struggled to have a glimpse of the player.
Two buses ferried the "Bolasie Fan Club" flag-waving fans with a motorcyclist parading a Yannick Bolasie flag. A three-wheeled scooter waved a "Team Yannick Bolasie" flag.
The Congolese winger has made 31 appearances and scored eight goals for the DR Congo.
   ROSS BARKLEY
International midfielder Ross Barkley was a notable absentee when the team touched down at the airport with his future at the club still unclear in the wake of a contractual stand-off.
Still, a galaxy of star players--including centre-back Ashley Williams, winger Aaron Lennon and new signings Michael Keane, Davy Klaasen and Rooney--were part of the contingent.
Everton defender Leighton Baines said they were excited to experience what Tanzania has to offer during their three-day tour of the East African country.
"We received a very warm welcome," said Baines. "It is very interesting for us as the Maasai welcome is not something we see at home. We will train today (yesterday) and are looking forward to a thrilling game tomorrow (Thursday).
  FITNESS
"But it's mostly about fitness at this point as we've only been back just over a week. It will be a good exercise for us and, hopefully, Tanzanian soccer fans will turn out and enjoy it."
Gor Mahia have been in the Indian Ocean coastal city since Tuesday.
K'Ogalo's centre-back Harun Shakava, featured in the SportPesa All Stars loss to a developmental Hull City in England in February, enthused at the opportunity to play an English club for the second time in a year.
"We'll try and contain our excitement, and play the best we can," said Shakava.
"This is a big game but we are not fazed by the opportunity of playing against Rooney."



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