ENGLISH Premier League side, Everton FC Manager Ronald Koeman has described his charges pre-season tour of Tanzania as memorable and a big success.
The Blues’ first-team squad arrived back in England after their short trip to Tanzania, where they beat Kenya’s Gor Mahia 2-1 in a mouthwatering pre-season friendly match at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
Wayne Rooney scored a stunning goal in his return to Everton, but the 16-time Kenya champions Gor Mahia displayed classic football and Jacques Tayisenge equaliser just three minutes after Rooney’s opener, with a near post bullet header was a class touch.
But Kieran Dowell’s second half strike condemned Gor to the defeat. Speaking about the visit, Koeman said: “It has been an enjoyable stay. It has been short because of our pre-season schedule ahead of the Europa League, but I want to thank everyone for the welcome we have had.
“I have really enjoyed my time here. I enjoyed the intensity of the friendly as well. It has been a positive trip.” “Overall, I’m happy. It was our first friendly - we saw the difference in the second half and we created good chances to score more goals.
“It was a good game but a difficult one, Gor Mahia made it tough for us. They dropped their intensity a little bit in the second half and we were the better team with fresh players.
Blues website said the team players and officials made friends and good memories in Tanzania. Everton’s first-team squad arrived back in England after their short, groundbreaking trip to Tanzania.
The players and coaching staff spent less than 48 hours in Dar es Salaam, but managed to make plenty of new friends and pack in lots of activities - both on the pitch and in the local community.
As part of the new partnership with gaming giant SportPesa, the Club opened up their pre-season fixture schedule with a friendly against Gor Mahia, becoming the first Premier League club to play a match in the East African nation.
From meeting a Maasai tribe and cooking traditional Tanzanian food, to visiting a local school and joining in with a training session at Albino United. Meanwhile, match-winner Kieran Dowell is determined to use this pre-season as a chance to stake a first-team claim.
Dowell was a stand-out performer after coming on at the break and hit the crossbar from a similar position before conjuring up his 30-yard winning goal. And having tasted glory with England at the Under20s World Cup this summer, his next aim is to break into Koeman’s plans with the Everton first-team.
“It’s good to be playing in front of the manager and the first team staff and hopefully I can do more stuff like I did today,” Dowell told evertontv. “When you come back in pre-season it’s like a clean slate so it’s about getting yourself on the score sheet and playing well.
“We all got 45 minutes each and it’s good to get your first game of the season out of the way and it was good to get my first goal as well. “Before the goal came, I created a few chances and I thought the team were really productive in the second half. “Those of us who played in the second half were fortunate because I thought the Kenyan team got tired as the game went on.
“But it was a good game from the lads.”