Odds will be stuck against Kabras Sugar when they play against Kenya Commercial Bank RFC in the Kenya Cup final on Saturday afternoon.
The match will be played at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka, the home ground for the bankers.They earned the hosting rights after finishing above Kabras in the regular season.
The home ground advantage to KCB could be one of the things to work against the sugar millers. Earlier in the seacon, KCB beat Kabras Sugar 22-17 at the same venue.
An unbeaten record against Kabras in all competitions is another thing that gives KCB an edge in the match.
But, head coach Curtis Olago disagrees because it is a final. “I don't know who has the edge because they want to beat us more just like we want to beat them.”
Anthony Ogot, the stand-in coach in-charge of Kabras maintained having not won against KCB is not a huge concern.
“There is always a first time in anything and that does not worry me. We are just prepared for this match,” Ogot told Sports News Arena.
“I have trained the same players for a whole season and there is nothing to change for now. I have a full house and our approach will be the same as any other match.”
Kabras struggled to reach final
With KCB qualifying directly to the semifinals after finishing second, Kabras struggled to make it to the playoffs and nearly missed out.
They ended up fifth thus playing all their knockout matches away. They regrouped and eliminated last year's losing finalist Impala RFC in the quarterfinals before kicking out table-toppers Homeboyz RFC in the semifinals.
Both wins have given Kabras huge confidence boost as they face KCB. They needed a sudden-death try to beat Homeboyz.
Could luck have played a big role in their run to the final? “We can't be in the final and say its luck,” Ogot asserts. “We lost four matches while other teams lost up to seven and yet they qualified. It is always like that.”
KCB’s dominance could be eye-catching heading to the final. Apart from the home win, KCB held Kabras to a 15-15 draw in Kakamega in the first leg encounter of the season.
They will be meeting for the third time this season and the winner will take everything home.
Interestingly, this will be the third season in a row that KCB and Kabras meet in a competitive final and the second in three years they meet in the league final. KCB has won all.
In 2015, they beat Kabras 27-3 to win the league title and beat the sugar millers 24-12 last year in the Enterprise Cup final.
In their third time of asking against the same opponent, Kabras will be seeking to get everything right. The bankers stand on their way to the trophy for another year.
Ogot who is holding brief after the departure of head coach Mike Bishop played for KCB alongside Olago. They will be coming head-on on Saturday as Ogot returns “home”.
Ogot: God has been our driving force
On their consistent appearance in the league final since promotion, Ogot said; “God has been our driving force. We have always drawn our inspiration from him.”
On top of that, the club has invested well in getting quality players to drive their agenda in the league.
Felix Ayange who joined from Kenya Harlequin FC in the off-season and Philip Wokorach who returned for a second stint with the club have been some of the outstanding performers this season.
They are both utility backs and can play at fullback. Ayange switches to the wing with ease while Wokorach can play as a flyhalf.
In this match, Wokorach starts at fullback and Ayange at wing to form a strong back three for Kabras alongside Malik Habil.
Wokorach missed the quarterfinals and semifinals owing to engagements with Uganda Sevens but he is back and available for selection on Saturday.
Also available is Kenya Sevens star Brian Tanga who did not play in the knockouts but is always a key player for the side. He will start on the bench alongside Dan Sikuta and Max Adaka. At flyhalf will be Fijian international Jone Kubu.
KCB maintains consistent side
Kenya Sevens captain Andrew Amonde will start at eighth as KCB maintains a largely consistent side.
“Everything is driving us to win this match. It has been hard work for 12 weeks playing in the league and we are happy to be in the final,” Olago added.
“We thank God for that because we wanted to be there. That is the ticket to win the lottery.”
The match will start at 4 p.m. with gate charges priced at Sh. 400. Constant Cap will be the center referee.
KCB II will play Impala II in the Eric Shirley Shield final at the USIU-A ground and will start at 1 p.m.
In the Championship, Kisii RFC will play Mombasa RFC at 1 p.m. The match will be played at Kenyatta University ground.