DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, January 21 – Everton legend Stephen Pienaar is expected in Tanzania this week as the chief guest of the third edition of the SportPesa Super Cup which kicks off at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday afternoon.
The former South African international had three different stints with The Toffees between 2008 and 2016 and scored over 20 goals for them in more than 150 appearances at Goodison Park.
Pienaar will be in involved in several programs in Dar with the main activity being distribution of sporting apparel through the Kits For Africa campaign as well as training with Tanzania’s national Under-17 team which is preparing for the Under 17 Cup of Nations to be staged here from April 14.
“We are happy to welcome Pienaar here in Tanzania and we look forward to the work that he will put in including training with youth teams here as well as the national team,” said Abbas Tarimba, the SportPesa Director of Administration and Compliance.
According to the organizers, all is set for the tournament with the final touches on the match venue being put up with the opening two games expected for Tuesday afternoon.
Debutants Bandari will take on Singida United in the first match of the day while home side Dar Young Africans (Yanga) will tackle Kenya’s Kariobangi Sharks in the second match in what is expected to be a lively encounter.
There has been banter already going round with Tanzanian sides vowing not to let the Kenyan teams go away with the trophy for the third consecutive time.
Tarimba has passionately asked the Tanzanian representatives, even Simba who are playing in the CAF Champions League to ensure they bring their best teams for the tournament.
“There is a big opportunity of hosting Everton that comes with winning this tournament. If Gor Mahia win again (God forbid), Everton will go to Kenya. We want Everton to play a Tanzanian team. I have personally talked to the team officials. We don’t want shame at home. We have to bring our best teams and play to win,” Tarumba said.
Football Kenya Federation Nairobi Region chairman Michael Majua Ouma who was representing the federation in his capacity as International Match Organizing Committee chair said that Kenyan teams are determined to take the trophy home.
“We are praying for you guys that at least you have one team in the final. We don’t want to leave you with shame that there are two Kenyan teams in the final. But, we are not saying much. We will do the business on the pitch,” Majua said.
He added; “All our teams which have come here are experienced at this level. The defending champions who have just qualified for the group stages of the Confederations Cup are on their way. I think once again, the trophy will take a ride on Kenya Airways.”
Meanwhile, Tarimba has disclosed that the tournament’s schedule was tweaked in order to accommodate Tanzanian teams which complained that it was played at a time when their season was already finished in July.
“The Tanzanian teams were complaining they were not doing well because of its timing at the end of the season when either players have left or they are on holiday. They said that Kenyan teams were at an advantage and were reaping all the benefits from this tournament. After consultations, we decided to change,” explained the SportPesa Tanzania boss.
The organizers have also lowered charges for the competition with the cheapest ticket going for Tsh2,000 (Ksh88) while middle-tier tickets will go for Tsh5,000 (Ksh220) and VIP dias tickets for Tsh10,000 (Ksh440).