Three teams battle for a place in the Kenya Cup premier league playoffs

By the punter
Feb 02, 2022
  • Leslie Ochieng of Top Fry Nakuru passes the ball under pressure from Homeboyz in a Kenya Cup Premier League match played at ASK ground. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Louis Kisia scored one of the tries against Homeboyz. Mwamba play Mombasa Sports Club at the weekend. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

The battle for the fourth team to qualify for the Kenya Cup play-offs intensified at the weekend when three of the teams in this race posted mixed results at the weekend.

Kabras Sugar, Mwamba and Impala still have an arithmetical chance of claiming the fourth spot which at the moment is occupied by Kabras Sugar. Mwamba who play Mombasa Sports Club, Blak Blad and Mean Machine appear well poised to end the fairytale run by debutants Kabras Sugar.

Any slip would bring Impala and even Homeboyz in the equation. The top three places are already decided with KCB, Pan Africa Strathmore Leos and Top Fry Nakuru already qualified. 

But, at the weekend, the biggest win was a 116-0 drubbing of Catholic University Monks by a ruthless play-off inspired Pan Africa Strathmore Leos.

Coach Mitch Ocholla is already looking at the possible pairing in the play off. “Nakuru, KCB and Leos have pulled away. The fourth place is hot and could see Mwamba, Kabras and possibly Impala slip through but the top three teams will be decided in the next two weeks,” he observed.

Ocholla had to dig deep in his arsenal in the absence of injured Tony Onyango and three players - Billy Odhiambo, Tony Owuor and Michael Wanjala - who are with the national seven-a-side team in New Zealand for the HSBC Sevens World Series.

In their places, he slotted Samuel Motari, Alex Olaba, Ginton Adongo and Elton Isiaho. “We have to build on our depth this season and are very happy that we remain competitive,” the coach stated.

Strathmore play KCB, Nakuru and Kabras next. “We have to be mentally tougher and play good efficient rugby. The biggest test facing us is in the next matches and it will be interesting to see what we are made of. It’s about focusing on what our objectives are,” he offered.

The Strathmore coach acknowledged Catholic University were having a baptism by the fire in the Kenya Cup. “They are not having a good season and are learning through harsh lessons but are taking valuable lessons home,” he explained.

Mental sent up needed

In the meantime, Dominique Habimana, the Top Fry Nakuru coach salvaged a 15-12 win over Homeboyz. He was not impressed. “It was one of those ugly wins. More of a mental step up needed than departmental issues,” he explained.

Going forward, the coach hopes to polish a few areas “arround the contact point especially, and build from there.” Rather than focus on the scenario ahead, Habimana and his charges are taking baby steps focussing on one match at a time. “We focus on winning one match at a time,” he said.

While Nakuru were made to fight for their points, Mwamba also posted a narrow 22-17 win over fourth-placed Kabras Sugar. They are now separated by only three points.

In this match, Brian Otieno scored the opening try for Mwamba only for Gerald Ssewankambo to cancel with a try for Kabras which Aluda Beda converted for the lead to change hands 7-5. Kabras went 14-5 up from a try by Daniel Adongo which was converted by Beda.

In the second half, man-of-the-match Shaban Ahmed converted a try by Louis Kisia to narrow the lead to 14-12. Kabras surged ahead 17-12 from a Beda penalty. Returnee Horace Otieno then went over and Ahmed converted for a 19-7 lead. George Mutuku then put over a penalty for the win.

Mwamba face Mombasa Sports Club, Blak Blad and Mean Machine in their remaining matches.

Impala in hot pursuit

Resolution Impala Saracens moved to the sixth place in hot pursuit of a playoff place. They have 27 points which is five less than the fourth-placed Kabras Sugar and two shy of fifth-placed Mwamba. Impala who could still make it to the play-offs. They were 34-8 winners over Mean Machine at the ASK Jamhuri Show ground.

They led 22-0 at halftime. Try scorers for Impala were Joel Omer, Pius Siundu, Felix Okari and Carlos Lawson. Sam Oliech kicked over two conversions. Tonly Mulinge scored Mean Machine’s try and Kevin Njugi added a penalty.

Perhaps the shock result of the weekend was a 74-15 drubbing of a fast-fading Kenya Harlequin by Kenya Commercial Bank. Although Quins breached the KCB tryline first when Lyle Asiligwa pounced on a loose ball from the kick off, they were unable to stop the KCB outfit who cashed on the absence of two key players to score 12 tries!

Curtis Lilako scored three with Philip Wamae and Peter Karia adding two each. Other try scorers were Darwin Mukidza, Maxwell Adaka, Oliver Mang’eni, Brian Omondi and Ken Moseti. Mukidza slotted five conversions and Essau Otieno one. Keegan added a late penalty for Quins.

The win saw KCB go top of the standing by virtue of having a better goal aggregate although they have 48 points which is same as Top Fry Nakuru RFC.

Results: Resolution Impala Saracens 34 Mean Machine 8, Homeboyz 12 Top Fry Nakuru 15, Pan Africa Strathmore Leos 116 Catholic University Monks 0, Kenya Harlequin FC 15 KCB 74, Western Bulls 31 Blak Blad 5, Mwamba 22 Kabras Sugar 17, Total Nondies 20 Mombasa Sports Club 0.

Additional reporting KRU