After days, weeks and months of waiting, the big day finally arrived. Sharks got the opportunity and privilege to be the first Kenyan club to host and English Premier League club in the country.
It was set to be a special day from the onset judging from the frenzy in the packed Kasarani Stadium that started cheering, singing and dancing hours before the kick off.
Then the two teams walked through the tunnel and into the playing field, both coincidentally donning their 2019/20 season new kits for the first time which also happen to be from the same kit maker; Umbro.
Coach William paraded his best line up consisting of familiar names of regular starters and also handed new signing Patrick Otieno his debut. His opposite number Marco Silva returned the favor by starting with his best stars like Theo Walcott, Schneiderlin and former Dutch number one Stekelenburg.
The visitors were the first to threaten as Nelson Holgate nearly scored from a well delivered set piece in just the third minute of the match. The boys understandably took time to settle but when they did settle, they started stringing together some decent passes.
Harrison Mwendwa pace was proving to be a problem for the visitors down the right hand side with Leighton Baines struggling to keep up with him and the diminutive winger almost scored in the 20th minute after some good combination play with the lively Erick Kapaito.
Six minutes later, the goal finally came after a through pass from captain Eric Juma was met by Duke Abuya who showed great composure to cut in and shake off the rushing Baines before beating the goalkeeper with a sleek nutmeg shot.
In the second half, sustained pressure from the visitors saw them win a free kick from the edge of the area and Joe Williams converted with a clever free kick. The hosts then also threatened with a header form Hornby at the hour mark but Brian Bwire pulled a top draw save to keep the Sharks alive.
Kapaito then went close in the 72nd minute after twisting and turning at the edge of the area then releasing a dipping shot that agonizingly clipped the bar on its way out after beating a retreating goalie.
Julius Masaba came in for Mwendwa and Abege for Kapaito as the coach looked to bolster the attack but the tie couldn’t be broken so we headed to penalties to decide the winner.
Both the goal scorers lost the first penalties with Williams’ effort saved by Bwire while Abuya blasted over the bar. Shiveka, Yidah and Abege then converted to keep up with visitors who were also converting theirs. Brian Bwire then took the game by his gloves, saving the visitors fifth penalty then converting one himself to send the fans into a frenzy.
The win was historic as Sharks became the first Kenyan side to beat an English Premier League team.
We can only hope that this will give the boys great confidence as the pre season starts.
Sharks XI: Bwire, Juma, Omondi, Teka, Shiveka, Yidah, Omoto, Abuya, Mwendwa, Kapaito, Otieno.
Everton XI: Stekelenburg, Connolly, Holgate, Gibson, Baines, Gomes, Davies, Schneiderlin, Niasse, Lookman, Walcott.