Kabras make another attempt at Enterprise Cup

By francis marangu
May 26, 2017
  • Michael Wanjala uses his physique and speed well to torment even the biggest and toughest of opponents who dare come his way. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Dan Sikuta will be in the boiler room for Kabras where the final could be decided. 9Photo by Shutterspeed)

On Saturday afternoon, Kabras Sugar will be making another attempt to break the long losing streak against Kenya Commercial Bank when they face off in the Enterprise Cup final at the RFUEA ground.

The sugar millers have not won a competitive match against the bankers. This will be the fourth final they are playing against each other in three seasons.

In the previous attempts, KCB beat Kabras in the 2015 and 2017 Kenya Cup finals as well as the 2016 Enterprise Cup final. It will be the fifth final that Kabras are playing in the same period and have won only once.

KCB are in their fourth straight cup final. Will Kabras be lucky this time round against KCB who are proving to be unstoppable?

Well, they might be facing a different and possibly weaker KCB than the one they have played in the previous finals. The touch of their absent players was evident when they struggled to beat Homeboyz RFC last weekend.

Prop Moses Amusala and lock Oliver Mang’eni are the key players for KCB who will not be doing duty on Saturday.

Hookers Peter Karia and George Asin are also missing from their front row that has new faces in Jerry Olola and Francis Kariuki. Jacob Ojee and Darwin Mukidza will also not play a part in the match.

Olago will not be short of options

Even with the absentees, head coach Curtis Olago will not be short of options. Center Stafford Abeka and winger Collins Wanjala who have been part of the ESS team for most of the season will start.

Wanjala played in last weekend's semifinal win over Homeboyz RFC and this is one player to watch out for. He uses his physique and speed well to torment even the biggest and toughest of opponents who dare come his way.

He is a no-nonsense player and huge asset for KCB. In last year’s cup final against Kabras, he made a big hit on Fijian international Apenisa Natabua that left him tumbling down.

Even though KCB made a remarkable comeback to win the match 24-12, Wanjala’s hit remained to be one of the biggest talking points from the match.

When they beat Homeboyz 11-9 last weekend, Wanjala was at it again. He forced the early substitution of flyhalf Evin Asena in the first half after hitting him hard to the ground.

Wanjala was going for a try at the left corner but Asena paid the price for attempting a try-saving tackle.

In the run-up to the incident, a Homeboyz player had been penalized for a high tackle that resulted in a penalty for KCB scored by Ahmed Shaban.

Whenever he has the ball and space, Wanjala is a threat to any opponent and will be a key player for the bankers.

The inclusion of Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde will as well help to neutralize the absence of key players.

He is always at the right place to win turnover balls for his team and this is a match his contribution will matter heavily. Amonde will be good for KB to dominate the breakdown areas.

Kabras unlikely to make big changes

On the other hand, Kabras will field players who have regularly been on their team sheet. They are not likely to make big changes from their squad that lost to KCB in the league final.

Key absentee will be captain George Nyambua while Brian Tanga is likely to start off the bench.

Philip Wokorach and Jone Kubu, two of the best kickers locally had a cool day when they lost in the Kenya Cup final but will be expected to stand up on Saturday.

They can both play at fullback and flyhalf but it will depend on the tactics employed by new head coach Charles Cardovillis. Dan Sikuta is another important player for Kabras if named to start.

To get that win off KCB, the Kakamega-based side has to play by the intensity of their opponent’s game. They have always had a good run but slows it down once they are in the deciding match.

Zimbabwean referee Gandiwa Talent will officiate the match to kick off at 12 p.m. Moses Ndung’u and Victor Oduor will be his assistants.

KCB will be gunning for double glory with their second team playing Strathmore University in Mwamba Cup II final.

In the semifinals, KCB beat Nakuru RFC 18-6 while Strathmore won 8-7 over Homeboyz.