Epic duel for Kenya Cup title

By the punter
May 17, 2014
  • Nakuru RFC's Martin Muita is stopped at the KCB try line. The two teams face off in the Kenya Cup and Eric Shirley Shield finals at the RFUEA ground. (Photo By Shutterspeed)

The stage is set for what could be an epic duel between two deserving teams in the Kenya Cup final. As expected each team is confident.

Weather permitting, rugby fans who will pay up to Sh300 at the gate could be treated to some open running rugby at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa ground.

Nairobi weather has been unpredictable and it could be wet although there have been dry spells punctuated with some sunshine.

The form book favors Nakuru RFC but Kenya Commercial Bank have a knack for posting good results in high octane matches.

Dominique Habimana, the Nakuru RFC coach returns to a ground he only knows too well as a former Kenya Harlequin FC player and coach. He has been too busy to have butterflies. “We have trained well,” he says.

The players have been focused even after winning the Enterprise Cup. But Habimana admits it is very tricky playing the same side in a top clash match. “It only takes a bad call, wrong option, bounce of the ball to win or lose,” he explains.

Nakuru are hungry for a win and the coach expects a fast-paced intense match with a fair contest in all departments. “I like the intensity.” He is aware that KCB will rely on their mobile pack and their hard running backs.

No major changes

The coach has not made major changes from the side which won the semi-final. An injury to Lawrence Buyachi paves way for Martin Owila who was in South Africa for the Vodacom Cup with Tusker Somba XV. This means Damlus Chituyi starts off the bench.

Michael Okombe and Nick Lang’o complete the backrow. Edwin Makori, the Nakuru RFC captain will marshal the forwards from second row where he is partnered by Philip Kwame, brother to Oscar Ouma.

The front row has Gilles Littlewood (formerly of Nondescripts RUFC) and internationals Sammy Warui and Isaiah Nyariki. In the backs, there has been a tactical change where Calvin Otieno starts at inside center from his usual full back position.

Kelvin Omiyo is injured. Completing the backs line up are Godfrey Mbeya, Larry Safari and Javan Murayi.

Curtis Olago, the KCB coach is equally confident. He has a backrow of Stafford Abeka, Brian Sagara and Maxwell Adaka.

Like Nakuru RFC, the captain is a second row, Oliver Mang’eni who plays alongside Steve Wakaya. The front three has two internationals namely Moses Amusala and Curtis Lilako with Peter Karia as hooker.

KCB camp fired up

Peter Mutai at scrum half will duel with Gibson Weru on the opposite end. The backs are Allan Omuka, Darwin Mukidza and Jacob Ojee. Olago said the camp is fired up and look positive to march on to a convincing win with team manager Ronnie Kangeta having a good feeling about the final.

The referee for the final is John Bosco Muamba who will be assisted by Constant Cap and Anthony Ndong'. Moses Ndungu will officiate the Eric Shirley Shield final between Nakuru II and KCB II, his assistant referees on the day will be Alfred Okwemba and Collins Nabiswa.

Top Fry Nakuru, founded in 1933, were relegated to the Eric Shirley Shield at the close of the 2005 season returned to the top flight in 2007. They have tasted Enterprise Cup success in 1948, 1962, 1963, 2008.

In 2014 Nakuru RFC they pipped KCB 18-15 at the last minute in a pulsating final on April 5, 2014.Success in the Kenya Cup proved elusive for the Nakuru RFC until last year's 39-3 demolition job on Strathmore University earned them their maiden title.

KCB, founded in 1989 and celebrating the 25th anniversary since being founded, made their Kenya Cup debut in 1989, also tasting relegation at the end of the 1994 season before returning to the top flight in 1996.

They have tasted Enterprise Cup success in 2004 and 2007 and are three time Kenya Cup winners, having won it in consecutive years between 2005 and 2007.

Repeat final

Nakuru finished their regular season campaign in first place, securing a home semi final against Strathmore University in a repeat of last year's final and romping to a 30-16 result to up set Saturday's date against a side they know only too well.

KCB finished their regular season campaign in third place and played their semi final away to Lunch Bar Quins at the RFUEA ground, defeating their hosts 24-8 to reach the final.

While Top Fry Nakuru and KCB's first string sides prepare to do battle in the Kenya Cup final, their second teams will open the curtains by facing off in the Eric Shirley Shield final from 1.30pm.

These two sides were top of the log at the close of the regular season, KCB II claiming pole position with 59 points coming off 12 wins and one loss.

Nakuru II finished second with a similar win-loss record as KCB's but garnered fewer bonus points along the way for a cumulative 57 points. It is worth noting that KCB's solitary loss during the regular season came at the hands of Nakuru who beat them 8-7 in February.

The Cubs from KCB have not laid claim on the Eric Shirley Shield since winning it unbeaten in 2008.  

Line ups

Top Fry Nakuru: 15. Javan Murayi, 14. Larry Safari, 13. Edwin Okemwa, 12. Calvin Otieno, 11. Godfrey Mbeya, 10. Martin Muita, 9. Gibson Weru, 8. Martin Owila, 7. Mike Okombe, 6. Nick Lang'o, 5. Edwin Makori (captain), 4. Philip Kwame, 3. Isaiah Nyariki, 2. Sammy Warui, 1. Giles Littlewood.

Replacements: 16. Felix Oloo, 17. Joseph Odero, 18. Richmond Baraza, 19. Dalmas Chituyi, 20. Oscar Ouma, 21. Victor Shigholi, 22. Meshack Ochieng, 23. Cassius Omolo.

Head Coach: Dominique Habimana.

KCB: 15. Jacob Ojee, 14. Darwin Mukidza, 13. Fabian Olando, 12. Ken Moseti, 11. Allan Omuka, 10. Essau Otieno, 9. Peter Mutai, 8. Max Adaka, 7. Brian Sagara, 6. Stafford Abeka, 5. Steve Wakaya, 4. Oliver Mang'eni (captain), 3. Curtis Lilako, 2. Peter Karia, 1. Moses Amusala.

Replacements: 16. Dennis Mukabi, 17. Edwin Alubaka, 18. Dennis Mwanja, 19. Anthony Ogot, 20. Polycarp Odhiambo, 21. Felix Wanjala, 22. Brian Omondi, 23. Edwin Salamba.

Head Coach: Curtis Olago.

Match officials

Eric Shirley Shield - KCB II v Nakuru II 1.30pm

Referee: Moses Ndung'u; Assistant Referees: Alfred Okwemba, Collins Nabiswa 4th,5th,6th Officials: David Ocharo, Peris Mukoko, David Ng'etich; Referee Coach: Osborne Bulemi.

 Kenya Cup - Top Fry Nakuru v KCB - 4.00pm

Referee: John Bosco Muamba; Assistant Referees: Constant Cap, Anthony Ndong 4th,5th,6th Officials: Joan Obwaka, Nicholas Gachoya, Edward Mbugua; Referee Coach: Paul Kilonzo.

Past Kenya Cup winners: 1970: Impala RFC; 1971: Impala RFC; 1972: Impala RFC; 1973: Impala RFC; 1974: Impala RFC; 1975: Nondescripts RFC; 1976: Nondescripts RFC; 1977: Mean Machine RFC; 1978: Nondescripts RFC; 1979: Nondescripts RFC; 1980: Nondescripts RFC 1981: Nondescripts RFC; 1982: Nondescripts RFC; 1983: Nondescripts RFC; 1984: Nondescripts RFC; 1985: Mwamba RFC; 1986: Nondescripts RFC; 1987: Barclays Bank RFC; 1988: Nondescripts RFC; 1989: Mean Machine RFC; 1990: Mean Machine RFC; 1991: Nondescripts RFC; 1992: Nondescripts RFC; 1993: Nondescripts RFC; 1994: Nondescripts RFC; 1995: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 1996: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 1997: Nondescripts RFC; 1998: Nondescripts RFC; 1999: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2000: Impala RFC; 2001: Impala RFC; 2002: Impala RFC; 2003: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2004: Impala RFC; 2005: KCB RFC; 2006: KCB RFC; 2007: KCB RFC; 2008: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2009: Impala RFC; 2010: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2011: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2012: Kenya Harlequin F.C; 2013: Nakuru RFC; 2014: ?