Dilemma of priorities for Gor’s Kerr as Hull challenge lurks
- Fifteen of the Hull City first-team players will be part of the 38-man travelling party to Kenya on Friday evening, in preparedness for their Sunday friendly against local champions Gor Mahia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani (MISC) .
- Unlike the February 2017 friendly at the KCOM Stadium when the English Championship side (then in Premier League) fielded a largely development team, the presence of senior team members is a signal this time round the approach could be different.
Fifteen of the Hull City first-team players will be part of the 38-man travelling party to Kenya on Friday evening, in preparedness for their Sunday friendly against local champions Gor Mahia at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani (MISC) .
Unlike the February 2017 friendly at the KCOM Stadium when the English Championship side (then in Premier League) fielded a largely development team, the presence of senior team members is a signal this time round the approach could be different.
Apart from their legendary forward, Dean Windass, 47, who gave them a first taste of EPL football seven years ago by scoring the winner in the Championship play-off final, the rest of the team was drawn from the Under 16, Under 18 and Under 20 squads within the club.
Nevertheless, their tour to Kenya will see former Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur striker Fraizer Campbell, former Spurs ace Michael Dawson and James Weir, who also played for United previously; are expected to highlight the Hull squad.
Also, with the history of Premier League side Everton winning narrowly over Gor in the Super Cup (2-1), Hull have no reason to take their hosts for granted if they are keen on winning.
Speaking to Citizen Digital after briefing journalists in Nairobi on Friday morning, Hull City’s Partnerships Executive Andrew Stead hinted his side was treating the match seriously, the first of their 2018/2019 early preseason.
“We expect it to be tough. Different environment, atmosphere, all the unfamiliar noise by the fantastic Kenyan fans but we hope to win. We have watched videos of how they (Gor) play, you can’t expect an exciting match,” observed Stead.
According to Stead, the love Kenyans have exhibited over time for English football as their favourite among other European leagues spices up the clash, and his side would love to enjoy the rare trip with a win.
The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) 16-time champions Chairman Ambrose Rachier during the briefing joked Hull should be rolling their sleeves up to ‘take on KPL champions, and not any other team.
“Everton were lucky to beat us, though narrowly. Wyane Rooney scored a funny goal (the winner), unfortunately we were not at home, but on Sunday we have the advantage,” averred Rachier.
However, there is conflict of interest for K’Ogalo, who two days later face Algeria giants USM Algiers in the CAF Confederations Cup in the same venue.
Thus, head coach Dylan Kerr will choose between parading his finest for The Tigers or reserving them for the North Africans duel.
In their group, Algers by all standards is the team to beat not only for Gor but for the rest of the clubs, Tanzania’s Yanga SC and Rwanda’s Rayon Sports.
Algers thrashed Yanga 4-0 last week, just to underscore their tenacity compared to the rest. With Kerr and his charges on record that their thirst for continental is almost insatiable by local success, the stakes are high for the Cup fixture.
“I have no first team, everyone in my squad has his place for any match, provided they prove it in training. I have shown them their worth. I keep telling them they are good, they can do much better than they have shown so far, so never mind who plays which day, provided they are in the green and white shirt,” Kerr previously said, of his routine team alternation.
Though he has sustained the narrative, the weight he lays on the match his shirt sponsors have expensively organised will be tested when he picks the starting team to take on Hull.
On Tuesday, an entirely different team started against hosts Kakamega Homeboyz and won 3-2, just two days after arriving from Rwanda for their CAF group opening clash against Sports.
Meanwhile, Hull’s Head of Medicine and Performance Rob Price has termed MISC as an iconic sporting facility for Kenya.
According to Price, the renovation work to have the pitch ready for the match was phenomenal, considering its condition in the last six weeks.
“We were there and there was no pitch. It’s amazing how fast it was done. The grass is standard, though different from the one our players are used to,” he noted.
Gates at MISC will open at 10:am on the material day, with tickets going on sale same day from 8:00am at designated four points.
A total of 35,000 tickets have been printed, 5,000 for the VIP dais coasting KSh. 1,000 while the rest for the terraces go for 100.
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