System check at Impala Floodlits

By the punter
Oct 10, 2014
  • Paul Murunga, the Homeboyz coach wearing another hat handling the Kenya under-18 sevens team. On Saturday, he will be coaching Homeboyz at the Impala Floodlit.

Coaches from various teams which will play at this year’s Impala Floodlit tournament are keen to test their systems and identify players for Kenya Cup league.

Since inception, Impala Floodlit tournament has been held before the 15’s season begins and coaches have identified it as a good avenue to experiment.

Many years ago, the organizers required that each participating team field two equal strength sides but this has since changed.

Paul Murunga, the Homeboyz coach who formerly played for Kenya Commercial Bank said they have had good preparations. “I like the draw. You can only get better if you play with the best,” the coach noted.

Homeboyz who have been drawn against Nakuru RFC will have some upcoming players on the team but throw in some experience. Some of the experienced players are the skipper Emmanuel Mavalla, center Maxwell Kangeri, fly half Kevin Ochami and tight head Elfas Etemesi.

The young players who could be fielded by Murung are winger Alvin Otieno, scrum half Paul Regei and right winger Tony Khadambi. “It’s good preparation towards Kenya Cup and will give time to make quick fix before the league,” added Murunga.

The coach will however miss four key players who are with the Kenya Sevens team in Gold Coast, Australia. They are Bush Mwale, Michael Wanjala Jnr, Leonard Mugaisi and Augustine Lugonzo. “They are key players in crucial positions but it’s good to give other players a chance,” Murunga noted.

Equally upbeat is John Onyango-Mbai, the Mwamba RFC coach who takes over from Fijian Meli Tuni Wanibuli who was incharge last year. Wanibuli has been posted to Mali by his employers.

Optimistic of a good result

Onyango-Mbai said preparations have gone well. “We are optimistic of a good result in the floodlit tournament. But our main focus is on preparations for the Kenya Cup campaign,” he stated.

Mwamba RFC tackle Kenya Harlequin FC. “The game on Saturday will give us a good indicator of where we are as a team. Quins are a quality side and we expect a good battle from them,” the coach added.

Hosts Impala, handled by Nick Abok face Kenya Commercial Bank, last year’s winners. “The preparations have been going on well,” Abok said. The team which will play against KCB will be a mix of young and experienced players. “Some of the young kids will be in the lineup as well as some senior players to offer some balance,” the coach explained.

The hosts could not have asked for a tough opening. “The draw is tough right from game one and you need to take your chances early in the game. So we think we still have a chance to get our systems going. Hopefully we will have a better tournament,” Abok said.

The universities category has a good mix and Michael Otieno who is coaching Blak Blad from Kenyatta University identified Catholic University as a tough side. Simon Jawichre who played under Otieno at Kenya Commercial Bank coaches Catholic University.

Kenyatta University play Daystar University in their opening match while Catholic University tackle Mt. Kenya University. The tournament came at a bad time for Strathmore University.

Restructuring systems of play

Mitch Ocholla the Strathmore University coach said the players were sitting for their examinations which will run until October 17. He added: “We are also behind with our preparations for the upcoming 15’s season where we are restructuring our systems of play.”

Because of examinations, it is unlikely some of the Strathmore University players may turn out for other teams as guest players “because we plan to have weekend camps.”

The former Kenya winger acknowledged Impala as his mother club and wished to play at the Floodlits so that players could be exposed. Ocholla state: “Exposing players is critical to check out the plans we have. The Leos are not ready to check the systems yet.

It was a tough call but the boys understand our position. The pressure that comes with exams is a tough one. We are focusing on better grades too. It is a great balance but it’s time for books.”

Western Bulls who had been drawn to play against Nondescripts RUFC are not going to honor the fixture. Newton Ong’alo the coach said they will continue preparations for Kenya Cup and plan for build up matches.