After months of planning, it is now official that English Premier League (EPL) side Everton FC will take on Kariobangi Sharks at the MISC Kasarani on July 7 in a pre-season friendly organized by betting firm SportPesa.
The game will represent the second time that Everton will be playing in the East Africa region after they faced off against Gor Mahia in Tanzania in 2017. They also faced the same opponents in 2018 but in their backyard in Liverpool England.
Super Cup win
Sharks booked their participation in this landmark encounter after claiming the 2019 SportPesa Cup by beating fellow KPL side Bandari in the final played in Dar Es Salaam Tanzania. Sharks’ win undid Gor Mahia’s hold in the regional tournament that sees teams from Tanzania and Kenya go head to head.
In his sentiments after the date was confirmed, Everton’s Commercial Director Alan McTavish said, “We are extremely excited to be heading back to Africa to play against Kariobangi Sharks FC. We were given an exceptionally warm welcome when we played in Tanzania in 2017 and are looking forward to visiting Kenya and what we know will be a fantastic experience in the Kasarani Stadium.
“Just like the last time we took the team to East Africa, we will be delivering extensive community and fan engagement activities with our friends from SportPesa, and we will be learning more about the rich culture of the country.”
On his part, SportPesa CEO Captain Ronald Karauri enthused belief that Sharks had in them the quality to play host to a club of Everton’s stature.
Defied the odds
He said, “Kariobangi Sharks FC is a team that has defied many odds to first make it to Kenya’s top league, the SportPesa Premier League, earning their stripes by winning the Shield Cup in Kenya, and to our delight, the SportPesa Cup tournament in Tanzania which was held in January. These boys have all it takes to host Everton for this historic match. It will be a record making match as well as a much needed catalyst to boost careers in local football as well as sports development in the country.”
Everton’s trip will be the second time that an English club has played in the country as part of SportPesa’s promotions with Championship side Hull City having gone head to head with Gor Mahia in 2018.