Former Everton striker Yakubu says tonight’s opponents Gor Mahia are “ready” for their Goodison Park challenge and “here to give everything, to show people and to prove themselves”.
The Blues will welcome the SportPesa Kenyan Premier League champions in a repeat of 2017’s friendly between the two sides in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam, a match that saw Everton edge their hosts 2-1
Yakubu, who will be a VIP guest at Goodison, has spent time in the build up getting to know the players of Gor Mahia, a side managed by former Leeds United and Reading defender Dylan Kerr.
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The match will see an East African club side play a Premier League team in England for the very first time.
And Yakubu, who scored 33 goals in 108 appearances for the Blues, says the Nairobi-based ‘K’Ogalo’ will be desperate to grasp their historic moment on the big stage.
“Coming here is a big piece of history but going back with victory would be more,” he told evertonfc.com
. “Everyone in Kenya is going to be amazed if that happens and they beat a Premier League team.
“It’s not going to be easy for Everton because I saw Gor play in June and they will love it, they will enjoy the moment.
“They’re here to give everything because it’s a dream come true for these guys. Most of these players would not usually get this opportunity to leave Africa or to play outside Africa, so they’re not here to enjoy Liverpool, they’re here to give everything, to show people and to prove themselves - to maybe get a chance to play in Europe themselves one day.”
Gor earned the right to play Everton by beating Simba SC Tanzania at the Afraha Stadium in June.
The 2-0 victory saw Kerr’s charges retain the SportPesa Super Cup they won in 2017 and Yakubu believes tonight’s spectacle underlines the significance of Everton’s partnership with the gaming giants when it comes to developing football across the entire East Africa region.
“SportPesa have been really great,” he said. “They’re looking after these players and helping them follow their dreams. It’s great, unbelievable, and you have to give credit to these people.
“Their relationship with Everton has been fantastic, they’ve been like brothers, and to bring these players to allow them to show everyone they can play, to represent Gor Mahia and Kenya in this country, it’s so huge for these guys.
“They will enjoy the atmosphere. The Everton fans, they are really, really good and so they should be excited.
“But I’m telling you, these guys are ready. They’re not here just to play - they’re here to give everything, here to make history and to go home happy.
“I’ve told them (the Gor players) I hope they lose because I have to stick with my team but these guys want to win and I am so happy for them that they are getting this opportunity."
Tickets for tonight's game are still available, priced at just £5 for adults and £1 for under 18s and over 65s. To buy online, click here. Alternatively, call 0151 556 1878 or visit the Goodison Park box office.