LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Nov 6 – Everton FC shot stopper Maarten Stekelenburg says he expects a tougher challenge from Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia when the two sides clash for the SportPesa Trophy on Tuesday night under the Goodison Park floodlights.
The Dutch keeper who started in goal last year during the first meeting between the two sides in Dar es Salaam Tanzania last December expects a much improved Gor and has warned his teammates not to underrate the Kenyan giants.
“African football in general has made improvement especially tactically over the past few years. I don’t think it will be an easy game for us. They are a good team and I know they can cause us problems,” the keeper told Capital Sport.
He added; “Last year in Tanzania it wasn’t easy. They ran us very close and I know it will be tougher this year. The only thing is that I heard they are out of competition for a month now and I hope they didn’t have too many parties, but nonetheless, it will be a difficult game,” he further stated.
Stekelenburg is expected to start in goal ahead of England international Jordan Pickford in some of the changes head coach Marco Silva is expected to make for the game putting in mind they played on Saturday against Brighton and have a massive game against Chelsea over the weekend.
“Of course the timing is not great for us because it comes very close to the busiest period of the season. But again it’s Tuesday and we will have plenty of time to recover before the Sunday game. The coach will put out a strong team I know because it will be a tough test for us,” he noted.
“It is an opportunity for other players to gather some much needed playing time because everyone has to be ready in case anything happens to one of the starters. We need to have good depth,” further stated the six-foot keeper.
The teams will be contesting for the SportPesa Trophy and Stekelenburg says that will be motivation for his teammates to put in the hard yards of work and win.
“There’s a trophy to win and everyone wants to win a trophy. We will give it the best shot,” he noted.
The match will be played at 7pm UK time, which is 10pm back at home and shown on all the major television stations.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Liverpool, United Kingdom-