Ronald Koeman is looking forward to taking his Everton squad over to Tanzania this week to kick off the Blues’ pre-season fixture schedule.
The Toffees face Kenya's most successful side, Gor Mahia, in the 60,000-capacity National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, their first friendly within their preparations ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.
Koeman revealed each of the travelling party – which includes a whole host of new faces including latest signing Wayne Rooney – will play 45 minutes against Gor Mahia as they look to build their fitness levels.
The Toffees are in Tanzania as part of their new partnership with sponsors SportPesa, and the players will also be out within the local community getting to know the culture of the East African country.
It makes the trip an exciting one and Koeman is looking forward to the experience. “I’ve been several times to Africa but never to Tanzania,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it.
“It’s always difficult in pre-season to go a long way abroad because it will be hot over there and we need to play the friendly. But with the way we have organised it, we leave on Tuesday evening and are back on Friday. That’s good because it’s not too long and it won’t have a negative effect on our pre-season.
“It’s a trip that is not all about football. There is the commercial side as well, which is good for Everton. We will support the Club in what we need to do over there.
“The most important thing is how we start our pre-season. It is about what we need to do to get to our best at our football and physical levels. This is our first friendly and everybody will be involved for 45 minutes in the game. You play football to win and we will do that in Tanzania.”