LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, Nov 6 – When record Kenyan Premier League champions Gor Mahia take to the field to take on English Premier League side Everton in a friendly match on Tuesday night, two players will hope to at least get a few minutes under their collars.
Striker Eliud Lokuwam and left-back Raphael Asudi are two of the youngest players in the team at 20 and 19 years respectively and on their maiden overseas trip with the team, they will hope to fulfil a lifelong dream of playing on an English Premier League ground.
“Being here is the biggest thing first of all. When I saw I would be travelling with the team, I couldn’t help my excitement. This was my first time ever on a plane and it being to come to an English Premier League ground made it even better,” Lokuwam told Capital Sport.
“It wasn’t so strange on a plane though. It was my first time ever but I realized, it’s not so much different from taking the buses to Mombasa. It was very exciting though,” the Turkana-born striker further joked.
Asudi who has to fight for a place in the team with new signing Shafik Batambuze and Wesley Onguso also took his first ever trip outside the country, and on a plane, and he notes playing on match-day will be a huge thing for him.
“I came into the team hugely unknown, but look at me now. I am in England with the team for the friendly. I feel very privileged also noting that I am still very young in the team,” the French student at the Alliance Francaise said.
He added; “I know it is tough because competition is very high in the team, but I will be happy if I get a chance to play. Even if I won’t, the experience enough has been great for me. I have learnt a lot in these few days we have been here.”
The two have amassed several minutes in the Premier League thanks to head coach Dylan Kerr’s rotation policy at the club due to congestion of fixtures, with Lokuwam having scored twice in the league.
“It has been a steady rise and I am really thankful. I have worked hard and I thank the coach because I played some matches this season. This is only the beginning and I am hopeful if I work harder I will get more chances,” the Finance and Economics third-year student at Kenyatta University further stated.
The striker joked that he took some time to get used to the weather but now that he has, he is enjoying his stay in Liverpool.
“Eh, it is very cold. I have never felt this way before. You know even where I come from, (Lodwar), it is very hot. But we have coped. What makes it warmer is knowing that you are on the same training ground the likes of Sigurdson (Gylfi) and Walcott (Theo) use. It is very exciting,” Lokuwam joked.
The striker started off playing for army side Laikipia Airbase where he was born before playing for Kenyatta University’s team when he started school three years ago.
The two now hope, if they are given a chance, they will impress and probably a scout sees their work and earn a chance to probably get a deal outside the country.
“We leave all that to God. If we get a chance, we will impress and then from there wait to see what will happen. But no pressure, the most important thing is that we are here and we are learning,” Asudi stated.
-Timothy Olobulu is reporting from Liverpool, United Kingdom-