DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, Jul 11- Gor Mahia and Harambee Stars defender Harun Shakava is already whetting his appetite for a possible match up against England’s all-time top scorer Wayne Rooney as K’Ogalo prepare to take on Everton in a friendly match in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
Rooney re-joined his boyhood club after a stint at Manchester United and the Merseyside club confirmed that the former England Captain will be part of the travelling party to Tanzania, though it is not yet confirmed whether he will be in the playing team for Thursday.
But nonetheless, Shakava who is an ardent follower of the English Premier League is already excited at the prospect of facing the 31-year old.
“It is something great for us as players and personally as a defender. Rooney is a big player and everyone knows his abilities. I think he plays like any player but the difference is he is on another level with different exposure,” Shakava said after Gor touched down in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
“It is not only a challenge but a huge honor to play against him and as defenders we hope we can contain him. It motivates me a lot to play against him because he is someone I have always watched on TV and playing against him is an achievement. I am hoping we prove ourselves that day,” he aded.
Shakava says they are not afraid of facing the Ronald Koeman coached side but notes they will approach the match with caution noting they are playing against a side laden with not only experience but international stars as well.
The defender has cautioned that his team will not go all out but will approach the game with caution, with a major inclination of putting their best feet forward.
“This game will be broadcast all over and it will be important for us as players to show our best,” Shakava said.
Playing against English opposition will not be a new thing for Shakava who was part of the team that played Hull City’s junior team in England early this year and he says he will share the experience with his teammates who were not in the trip.
“The biggest difference with the English League is the speed. They play at a much higher tempo which is not easy but what we need to do is contain them and if need be, match their pace as well,” the former Kakamega Homeboyz man noted.
-Good for exposure, says Zico-
The same sentiments are shared by assistant coach Zedekiah ‘Zico’ Otieno who says the game will be a challenge to the local lads to show they can match the abilities of an English Premier League club, and notes the biggest thing the team will be taking in is getting the lessons.
“The most important thing from such a friendly match is not the result but the lessons we pick. We are not here to beat them, we are here to learn. We are hoping we have a good show, that will be a plus for us,” Otieno noted.
“We hope the players will stick to the game plan and at the end of the day celebrate and pick lessons if we can play well, match them in terms of tactics and man for man then it will be a plus,” the tactician added.
He adds they are not afraid of facing Everton even with Rooney returning and has urged the players to put on their best show as they look to open up opportunities of being scouted in Europe.
-Kerr, Mugiraneza back home-
Meanwhile, New head coach Dylan Kerr and midfielder Jean Baptiste Mugiraneza are ‘back home’ in Tanzania, a country they each had their football journey in a while back.
Mugiraneza played for Azam for two years before joining Gor while Kerr coached Simba SC between 2014 and 2015.
“It feels great to be back in Tanzania and I really feel at home. I have played here for two years, I know the weather I know the people and so it’s not hard for me. I am more so happy because I return to play in a big match such as this and I hope we will win,” the Rwandese midfielder said.
Kerr who arrived in the country on Saturday to take on the new job was embraced by fans as he walked off the airport arrivals lounge, clearly most being Simba fans who loved him during his stay in Msimbazi.
“I almost felt like putting on a Simba jersey!” Kerr joked, speaking to Capital Sport as he wielded a wide smile, clearly nostalgic from his 15 months at Simba.
“I am pleased to be back and on such a big occasion. We go out there to put in our best and hopefully, we come out victorious. I have only had one training session with the team, a recovery one on Monday and I have watched them play once, so I know what needs to be done,” Kerr, who coached the Chesterfield Under-18 team before coming to Gor said.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Dar-