Make or Break for Mwamba & Quins at Kabeberi Sevens

Sep 18, 2010
It is make or break for Mwamba and Kenya Harlequin FC when the Western Union-sponsored Kenya Rugby Union National Sevens Circuit reaches the fourth tournament, the George Mwangi Kabeberi sevens at the Rugby Football Union of East Africa ground on Saturday and Sunday.

The doubts about whether national team players would be allowed have been cleared, after several clubs petitioned KRU not to go back on their word that these players would be available for the first three tournaments. Mwamba RFC would have been hardest hit and sent a protest letter to KRU early this week.

Only eight points divide the top two teams who have faced off in three finals already with Mwamba winning two and Quins one. The chasing pack of Impala and Nakuru are not far behind. Quick arithmetic by the coaches show that there could still be a chance, remote as it may seem.

Thirty points are up for grabs when the 24 teams take on the pitch at the RFUEA ground. Circuit leaders Mwamba RFC (88 points) hold an eight point lead over second placed Kenya Harlequin FC (80 points).

The Black Shirts who are the tournament hosts and the top seeds have been placed in Pool A alongside Daystar, Mount Kenya University and the United States International University-Africa. Edgar Abere, twice named as the Most Valuable player in the opening three tournaments is in South Africa with Shujaa. His younger brother, Dominic comes in as replacement and coach Tito Oduk may have to settle for another player to sweep.

Serious business starts on the second day but Oduk will rely on Humphrey Kayange, Collins Injera, Horace ‘Horacio’ Otieno, Lavin Asego, Steve Okeyo, Louis Kisia, George Mbaye, Tony Karanja, Joseph Oriwo, Kevin Wambua and Chris Asego to push for the final. Kayange, one of the senior players said Mwamba would like to meet another team in the final because this would enhance their chances of winning the circuit.

Quins have been Mwamba’s opponents in the three previous main cup finals, winning the Christies before losing out at the Prinsloo and Dala Sevens.  They headline Pool B that also has Monks, KCA University and Kenya Methodist University ( Nairobi).  It is the same script, just a different venue with Quins having a home advantage on a pitch they only know so well.

Destiny is in the hands of Victor Sudi, Wilson Kopondo, Leon Adongo, Sidney Ashioya, Victor Oduor, Naftali Bondo, Nick Baraza, David Ambunya and Tony Mutai among others. Reaching the final is the ultimate goal for Quins and they also hope that Mwamba will be humbled either in the quarters or semis so that they have a realistic chance of winning the circuit.  

Impala RFC lie third on the Western Union National Sevens Circuit standings with 61 points, 19 points behind Quins, and 27 behind Mwamba. They have fallen at the main cup semi final stage on three occasions. They are seeded top in Pool C alongside Mean Machine RFC, Nairobi Mtaa and Molo RFC. Kevin Umbuge, Leo Seje, Innocent and Nato Simiyu, Lawrence Buyachi, Kelvin Omiyo, Peter Ocholla, Felix Makori, Brian Nyikuli, Tony Onyango, Paul Oimbo, Dan Weku are the foot soldiers going to battle. Coach Bill Githinji is optimistic of reaching the final and winning this one.

Nakuru RFC have accumulated the same number of points as Impala, but are placed fourth on the standings due to an inferior try count. They too have been perennial semi finalists in 2010. The Wanyore are in Pool D where they will face off against Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad, Oryx and Mwamba II. Gibson Weru has his eyes set on the final and will rely on Mike Shioso, Graham Kombo, Edwin Makori, Bernard ‘Chiri’ Chirchir, Nick Lang’o, Larry Safari, Davis Yanga, Simon Wariuki, Javan Murai, Ephantus Ngethe and Philip Kwame Owuor. Leslie Ochieng has been dropped for missing training sessions.

Kenya Commercial Bank RFC (37 points) successfully defended their Plate title in Kisumu, meaning that they are seeded ahead of Strathmore (41 points) who are four points ahead of them in the overall standings. KCB renew their acquaintance with Kisumu RFC in Pool E. Other teams in the pool are Bungoma and Mombasa. They will miss the services of Ken Isindu who is in South Africa with Shujaa but still have Dennis Mwanja, Jotham Yahuma, Peter Mutai and Benjamin Otieno among others.

Western Union National Sevens Circuit defending champions Strathmore have all but ceded the title. They still have pride to play for. They are top seeds in Pool F where their stiffest challenge should come from Homeboyz. Egerton and Nondies round the pool.

Coach Mitch Ocholla released the side to do duty for ‘Leos’. They are Maurice Mbai, Seth Machuki, Charles Omondi, Hastings Nyariki, Ken Andola (captain), Anthony Nyandigisi, Edwin Salamba, Anthony Oyugi, Maurice Otieno, Nicholas Karimi and Marvin Sumbu. Felix Ayange is with Shujaa in South Africa.

What will the Kabeberi Sevens have in store for rugby fans? Will it bring with it a different set of semi finals? Perhaps a different set of finalists? Maybe a change in the rankings?
Kabeberi 18th and 19th September

Pool A: Mwamba, Daystar University, Mt Kenya University, USIU-A; Pool B: Kenya Harlequin FC, KCA University, Monks, Kenya Methodist University - Nairobi; Pool C: Impala, Mean Machine, Nairobi Mtaa, Molo RFC; Pool D: Nakuru, Blak Blad, Oryx, Mwamba II; Pool E: Kenya Commercial Bank, Kisumu RFC, Bungoma Mombasa RFC; Pool F: Strathmore University, Homeboyz, Egerton University, Nondescripts RUFC.

Mwamba v USIU-A, Daystar v Mt. Kenya University (9.30), Quins v KEMU, KCA University v Monks (9.55), Impala v Molo RFC, Mean Machine v Nairobi Mtaa (10.20), Nakuru v Mwamba II, Blak Blad v Oryx (10.45), KCB v Mombasa, Kisumu v Bungoma (11.10), Strathmore v Nondies, Homeboyz v Egerton (11.35), Mwamba v Mt. Kenya University, Daystar v USIU-A (12 pm), Quins v Monks, KCA University v KEMU (12.25), Impala v Nairobi Mtaa, Mean Machine v Molo RFC (12.50), Nakuru v Oryx, Blak Blad v Mwamba II (1.15), KCB v Bungoma, Kisumu v Mombasa (1.40), Strathmore v Egerton, Homeboyz v Nondies (2.05), Mt. Kenya University v USIU-A, Monks v KEMU (2.30), Nairobi Mtaa v Molo RFC, Oryx v Mwamba II (2.55), Bungoma v Mombasa, Egerton v Nondies (3.20), Mwamba v Daystar (3.45), Quins v KCA University (4.05), Impala v Mean Machine (4.25, Nakuru v Blak Blad (4.50), KCB v Kisumu (5.10), Strathmore v Homeboyz (5.30).

Eric Odanga

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