Family feud as Ogot faces familiar foes

By the punter
Mar 13, 2015
  • Oliver Mang'eni is one of the KCB forwards who could be instrumrntal in the final against Kabras Sugar. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

“It is harder to play against a team which has been part of your rugby career for 16 years. KCB is like a home, a family. These are people I talk to everyday. It is a final and after it is over, we will still be friends.”

This is the dilemma for Anthony Ogot, the Kabras Sugar coach as they wound up training for the Kenya Cup final on Saturday. He has retained the same line up which beat Nakuru last weekend.

There is only one change which has been forced by injury to Nick Barasa. In his place, either Perminus Macharia or Leslie Mango will be fielded. However, Mango suffered a concussion and may miss the final.

Ogot expects a tough battle upfront and is leaving the options open whether he will play or not like he did against Nakuru last weekend. “They (KCB) have a very solid and experienced forwards department, but we will match up and adjust according to the flow of the game. I know what to expect,” the coach stated.

On the terraces, Kabras may not have lots of support because their fans base is still growing. The 20 or so traveling fans could be drowned by KCB fans at the RFUEA ground. Before the semi-final against Nakuru last weekend, Ogot said he will not play but the adrenalin got the better of the former KCB players and he joined in the mix.

Asked why? His answer was simple: “I had to. It was better coaching from inside.” Never mind that the previous day was his birthday. “My players promised to celebrate my birthday in the way they know best. You could not have asked for a better birthday present than a win in the semi-final.”

In the match against Nakuru, the coach had fond words for his captain Oscar Okaron (full-back), George Otieno (lock), Levy Ochieng (flanker) and Brian Tanga (fly-half). What worked well for Kabras Sugar was their tight defence. “The players held on against a very good side.”

Good in open play

Overall, Kabras Sugar were good in open play which is something they would like to replicate in the final. Ogot added that reaching the final in the debut season was definitely a bonus. The preparations for the final started immediately after the win against Nakuru. “The players are motivated to go all the way,” he said.

Nakuru are equally motivated to finish strong in the playoff. Recalling the loss to Kabras Sugar, Dominique Habimana, the Nakuru RFC coach counted 11 dropped balls in the opposition 22. Eight of these were from clean passes and three balls were spilled in contact. “That is basically the story of the semi final,” Habimana recalled.

He denied they had planned for a late surge and also added Nakuru were not overconfident. “Not really. Overconfidence is when people feel like they don’t need to put an effort to face an opponent. The boys were up for this, trained well, executed well but were let down by finishing mistakes,” Habimana explained.

But, they are motivated to finish strong. “We have regrouped and build from that game onward.

Mitch Ocholla, the Strathmore coach attributed their loss to KCB to game management. “We didn’t kill the game with seven minutes to go. Should have slowed down the game game at this point. Basics let us down. Two lapses of concentration that KCB punished. Ten points in seven minutes… harsh lessons learned.”

Strathmore University are more than ready for the play-off. “We went back to the grind and have a better game sense. The aim is to maintain the intensity witnessed last weekend and improve our efficiency. This will be helped by a better defense line and discipline in play,” said Ocholla.

  Strathmore will field the same side with a few changes. Victor Odera and Elton Isiaho who picked up knocks at the weekend will be replaced by Jared Owinyo and Charles Omondi.