Wayne Rooney was the centre of attention in Tanzania on Thursday with England’s record goalscorer set to make his first appearance back in an Everton shirt against Kenya’s Gor Mahia.
Rooney rejoined his boyhood club from Manchester United last week on a free transfer after 13 years at Old Trafford.
Everton are touring East Africa as part of their preparations for the upcoming Premier League season after signing a deal with Kenyan betting firm SportPesa to become the club’s new shirt sponsor.
The Toffees received a warm welcome after arriving in Dar es Salaam with large numbers of Tanzanian football fans eager to greet Rooney and his new teammates.
In fact, even Tanzania’s Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan got in on the act.
“Wayne Rooney made me support Manchester United and now I don’t know what to do because he has gone back to Everton,” she said according to the BBC.
Rooney replied: “Being here, it has been a new experience for me and I hope the vice-president will now be able to support Everton. It’s great to be back at Everton and I hope for more success.”
Another popular figure has been Yannick Bolasie, the Democratic Republic of Congo winger.
He will, however, not be in action as he’s still recovering from a knee injury.
Manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed all players making the trip will play at least 45 minutes in the game against the reigning Kenyan champions.
In May, Everton announced they had penned a five-year sponsorship deal with SportPesa to succeed Thai brewing company Chang.