Uganda defender Shafik Batambuze is relishing the prospect of playing in front of an English crowd when Gor Mahia face Everton in the Sportpesa Cup clash at Goodison Park on Tuesday.
Batambuze, who signed for the Kenya Premier League champions in October, is part of the squad that travelled to England on Friday.
“Playing in front of English fans will be a dream come true,” he said. “I like the atmosphere in the stadiums in England, and it’s one of the things I have always wanted to be part of as a player.
“I know I am still new in the team, but I will take the chance as a golden one if I am selected to play against Everton.
“In football, sometimes you get only one chance and if you impress, bigger things can come your way.”
Batambuze joined Gor Mahia from Tanzanian side Singida United FC to fill the gap left by another left-sided defender, Godfrey Walusimbi, who joined South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs.
“I have watched a lot of Premier League football over the years, and I will be happy playing at Goodison Park against some top players at Everton,” Batambuze added.
Gor Mahia’s Chief Executive Officer Lordvick Aduda also told KweséESPN that playing a high-profile side like Everton will help Gor’s playing staff improve.
“The game will not only help us give the team international exposure in Europe,” he began, “but also help prepare the team ahead of the CAF Champions League which starts in December.”
This will be the second meeting between the Kenyan giants and Everton.
Last year, the Toffees defeated Gor 2-1 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Rwanda international Jacques Tuyisenge scored the consolation goal for the Kenyan side, while Wayne Rooney and Kieran Dowell scored for the Toffees.
Gor Mahia squad
Lawrence Ochieng Juma, Philemon Otieno Omondi, Eliud Ekadeli Lokuwam, Odhoji Shaban Ouma, Arasa Wesley Onguso, Omondi Wellington Ochieng, Kevin Obwaka Omondi, Jacques Tuyisenge, Asudi Raphael Okeyo, Owino Boniface Omondi, Samuel Onyango Ouma, Nizigiyimana Abdoul Karim, Achieng Joash Onyango, Kisia Ernest Wendo, Joachim Ochieng Oluoch, Francis Nyambura Kahata, Ondiek Benard Ochieng, Ochieng Humprey Mieno, Shafik Batambuze, Charles Saramu Momanyi, Lumumba Cersidy Okeyo, Francis Mustafa, Haron Shakava, George Odhiambo Ogutu, Otinda Fredrick Odhiambo, Boniface Oluoch.