Football fans in Kisumu on Thursday thronged social joints to watch the highly anticipated friendly match between Gor Mahia and English Premier League side Everton in Dar es Salaam Tanzania.
Barbershops, video dens, bars, pubs and electronic shops were full to capacity with fans eager to catch a glimpse of the 15-time Kenyan Premier League champions battling the European side.
The match was the highlight of the inaugural Sportpesa Super Cup which was played in Tanzania last month.
Many football enthusiasts in the Lakeside town donned Gor Mahia jerseys in solidarity with their colleagues, some of whom made the estimated 900km trip to Dar to watch the tie from the National Stadium.
Although Everton eventually won 2-1, Abdi Hassan, who owns an electronic shop at Kisumu’s Garissa lodge mall, was elated when K’Ogalo equalised through Rwandese Jacques Tuyisenge.
This was three minutes after English football legend Wayne Rooney scored an opener in the 34th minute.
“We have shown these foreign players that we are also champions. We can beat them,” said Hassan.
Hassan urged football administrators to organise more friendly matches of this kind to improve the skills and talents of local players.
Aggrey Makasa, who watched the game at the main Bus Park, said the Kenyan giants displayed impressive football skills all through.
“In the first half of the match, Gor Mahia outplayed Everton, but they came stronger in the second half,” said Makasa.
Makasa said the match also gave the players an opportunity to market themselves to clubs in Europe and other parts of the world.
Currently, only one Kenyan Victor Wanyama features in the English Premier League. He plays for Tottenham with another player of Kenyan roots, Belgian Divorck Origi featuring for Liverpool.