Ngong Road rivalry in Enterprise Cup

By francis marangu
May 12, 2017
  • Impala RFC host Kenya Harlequin FC in a Ngong Road derby. (SNA. File Photo)

Impala RFC and Kenya Harlequin FC will meet for the fourth time this season on Saturday at the Impala Club in an Enterprise Cup quarterfinal match.

The “Ngong Road derby” is always interesting and this will be an opportunity for both teams to continue the chase for silverware after missing out on the league title.

They first met in October 2016 at the Impala Floodlit with the gazelles winning 13-11. In the Kenya Cup, Quins won a double. They won 28-10 at the Impala Club before finishing off at the RFUEA ground with a 36-26 win.

Overall, Quins has enjoyed an advantage in the derby over the past three seasons. Last season, Quins won away 29-22 and 25-23 at home both in the Kenya Cup. In the 2014/15 season, Impala beat Quins 33-22.

However, the setting for Saturday’s derby will be different. Being a knockout match, the stakes are pretty higher.

A loss will mean sad ending to either team’s fifteens season so they will approach it with a winning mentality.

Also, some of the regular players may be unavailable for both sides. Already, Quins are certain to miss David Ambunya, Dennis Muhanji, Patrice Agunda and Isaac Adimo who are with the national fifteens team.

New midfield combination

The team will have a new midfield combination with Ambunya and Agunda missing out. The duo have partnered well for the entire league season. 

Their chemistry was so good that other centers have been nearly sidelined at the club. Former Nakuru RFC center Edwin Okemwa who partnered Ambunya last weekend against his former side could be a starter.

The club has a luxury of tested players to choose from including Brian Okwomi who was the captain last week, frontrow Paul Kioko, utility back Kevin Keegan, winger Ginton Adongo and half-back Lyle Asiligwa.

Impala, will be without Leo Seje, Samson Onsomu, Simon Muniafu, Dennis Karani, Eric Kerre and James Kubasu.

Mohamed Omollo replaces Onsomu at scrumhalf and will partner with Robin Kiplang’at at flyhalf. Captain Duncan Ekasi, lock Davis Makori, center Anthony Nyandigisi, fullback Richard Sidindi and winger George Okowa will all start.

Defending champions Kenya Commercial Bank will be without up to eight key players when they host Blak Blad.

Among the absentees will be their two top hookers Peter Karia and George Asin who have travelled with the Kenya 15’s team.

Digging deep

Their front row will also miss Oscar Simiyu and Moses Amusala. However, they will dig deep from their depth to get a quality side for the match.

KCB II will also be playing in the Mwamba Cup. Stafford Abeka, Peter Waitere, Rocky Aguko, Vincent Onyala, Oliver Mang’eni and Curtis Lilako are some of the players that could line up against Blak Blad.

Essau Otieno is likely to replace Darwin Mukidza at fullback. After eliminating Mwamba RFC last week, the Kenyatta University side is psyched up to face the bankers who won the league title last month.

They could take advantage of the situation at the Lions Den to stage another possible upset. Nondescripts RUFC will make the long journey to Kakamega where they will play Kabras Sugar.

They have named veteran backrow Ben Nyambu and flyhalf Charles Kanyi in their travelling squad. The other quarterfinal match will have Homeboyz RFC playing away to Strathmore University.

Fixtures: Impala RFC vs Quins (Impala Club, 4 p.m.), KCB vs Blak Blad (Ruaraka, 4 p.m.), Kabras Sugar vs Nondies (Kakamega, 4 p.m.), Strathmore University vs Homeboyz RFC (TBC, 4 p.m.).