LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 2 – At approximately 4:30pm local time, (7:30pm EAT), record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia emerged from the London Heathrow Airport Arrivals gate, the realization that their journey to the United Kingdom was finally a reality.
Draped in a dapper broken suit of a navy blue coat, white shirt and baige khaki, the players walked out, smiles written all over their faces as they looked forward to their journey to Goodison Park Liverpool, where they face the blue side of Merseyside, Everton, in a friendly match on Tuesday.
“We are happy to be here today. For almost all the players, it’s a first time being in the United Kingdom so you can really see the excitement. I was here with the SportPesa All Star team in 2016 when we played Hull,” Skipper Harun Shakava said.
He added; “We are happy especially with how we have been treated by the sponsors SportPesa. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it gives us such joy.”
Midfielder Humphrey Mieno who scored the lone goal in the friendly between the SportPesa All Stars and Hull City in 2016 was delighted to return to England and hopes for the same scoring fortunes on Tuesday.
The team had earlier on in the day been a trending topic in Nairobi for their suits, a first one for a Kenyan team.
“I was so surprised that within a few minutes, everyone was already talking about our suits. The players look so good and we are pleased to be here. This is a milestone for not only the club but Kenyan and East African football. It is such a joy to be here to witness this,” Gor Mahia chair Ambrose Rachier said.
Meanwhile, SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer Kelvin Twissa said they were happy to finally actualize the dream of seeing an East African Club set foot in the United Kingdom and get to play a top side in the country.
“We are so excited to finally land in England for this historic game. As SportPesa we are delighted to be part of this journey and we can’t wait to see them play against Everton on Tuesday. We hope we win,” Twissa told Capital Sport.
All players were part of the travelling team except striker Jacques Tuyisenge who scored against Everton in Tanzania last year and new signing Shafik Batambuze whose visas delayed. They will however link up with the team on Saturday.
Upon landing at Heathrow, the team left via train to Liverpool a two hour journey that started at the Euston Train Station in Central London.
On Saturday, the entire travelling contingent will watch Everton play love at Goodison Park against Brighton Hove and Albion in an English Premier League fixture.
On Sunday all players will undergo medical tests with the Everton FC medical team. They will train at the club’s training ground, Finch Farm, later Sunday and Monday before the game on Tuesday.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from United Kingdom-