Mean Machine and Western Bulls chase quick consolation

By francis marangu
May 04, 2017
  • Mwamba and Western Bulls are some of the teams involved in pre-quarter final matches this weekend. (SNA. File Photo)

Former Kenya Cup sides Mean Machine and Western Bulls will be chasing quick consolation when the 2017 Enterprise Cup begins this weekend with four pre-quarterfinal matches.

Both sides were relegated from the top-tier league at the close of the 2016/17 season. But, they have another chance to brush shoulders with the top teams before starting life in the Championship.

On Saturday, Mean Machine will visit old-time rivals Nondescripts RUFC at the Jamhuri Park.

The University of Nairobi side played in the final of 2007 while Nondies were finalists in 2000.

In the records of the tournament, Nondies have a better run. They won the grand old trophy for 10 straight years from 1975 to 1984 and six straight years from 1989 to 1994.

They beat Mean Machine in the final of 1992. With a record 25 titles, Nondies will have something to play for against Mean Machine who have never won. The winner of the match will face Kabras Sugar away.

Western Bulls will host Homeboyz RFC in Kakamega. They lost to Mwamba RFC at the same stage last year and head coach Howard Okwemba says they want to progress further this year.

No pressure

In 2015, Western Bulls made it to the quarter finals after eliminating Mwamba 19-12 but lost 23-37 to Impala RFC.

“We are not under any pressure. It will be a difficult match but if we proceed and win the tournament, that will be a plus to the players,” Okwemba told Sports News Arena.

“The fact is that we were relegated but we need to get over that by playing well in this tournament.” He holds that Homeboyz is beatable.

“Looking at every match we played in the league, it shows we have capacity to beat a team like Homeboyz.”

Blak Blad is another team that struggled in the league but has the opportunity to impress in the cup competition. They will play at home against Mwamba RFC.

Mwamba were winners in 2013 and previously won in 2006, 1986 and 1985.

Michael “Tank” Otieno, the Blak Blad head coach acknowledges that his team will take it easy against Mwamba who are the favorites.

“Pressure is not on us. In the league, we finished 10th while Mwamba were sixth thus they are the better side. I know they will come out strong because in the last league match we played, we nearly won,” Otieno a former Mwamba full-back observed.

“We want to score more tries than we did last time. We have to polish up on our game and stick to the basic fundamentals that we have trained on like making fewer mistakes.”

Good run

Perhaps, it is the good run that Blak Blad enjoyed towards the end of the Kenya Cup that they will want to carry over to the tournament. That is something the head coach acknowledges.

“Our game had started picking up late into the season because we wanted to maintain our status in the league. We want to use this tournament to prepare for next season.”

Highlight action of the pre-quarterfinal stage will be at the RFUEA ground where Kenya Harlequin FC will host Nakuru RFC.

Since playing in two straight finals in 2013 as runner-up and 2014 as winner, Nakuru has underperformed in the tournament. However, this could be the year they rise up again.

Quins last won in 2011 against Impala and lost their pre-quarterfinal match to Kabras Sugar last year.

Enterprise Cup

Pre-quarter finals: Blak Blad v Mwamba (Kenyatta University, 4 p.m.), Nondescripts v Mean Machine (Jamhuri Park, 4 p.m.), Quins v Nakuru RFC (RFUEA, 4 p.m.), Western Bulls v Homeboyz RFC (The Bullring, 4 p.m.);

Mwamba Cup Div. I

Pre -quarterfinals: Moi University v South Coast Pirates (Eldoret), University of Eldoret v Mombasa (Eldoret), Bungoma Sharks v JKUAT Cougars (Bungoma), Thika v Kenya Methodist University (Thika).

Mwamba Cup Div II

Pre-quarterfinals: Nondescripts II v Western Bulls II (Jamhuri Park), Blak Blad II v KCB II (Kenyatta University).