It is semifinal Saturday in the Kenya Cup and two huge fixtures are on the cards.
Menengai Cream Homeboyz, the team that topped the league phase of the competition are at home to the team that lays claim to the title, Kabras Sugar, this match taking place at the ASK Jamhuri Park off Ngong’ Road in Nairobi.
The deejays earned a direct semifinal by virtue of their first place finish and will relish the challenge posed by the reigning champions. The two sides have met three times before in Kenya Cup action, Kabras winning the first encounter during the 2014/15 season by 7-5, the deejays winning the latter fixtures, a 29-28 win during the 2015/16 season and a 34-22 win during the 2016/17 regular season. Not only will they look to make it three wins in a row against their visitors, they will also be out to remain unbeaten in 2017 as they seek to reach a maiden Kenya Cup final.
Their forwards particularly Steve Otieno, Emmanuel Mavala, Phil Ikambili and Bram Mayaka have been outstanding for the deejays all season. Remember, it had been long whispered loudly on the local rugby streets that while Homeboyz possessed explosive backs, they lacked the forwards capable of making them challengers. Well, that myth has been smashed to smithereens, the deejays going toe to toe in all departments this season against the league’s finest. That they posted victories against the league’s top six sides is a testament to this.
Kabras Sugar again started the season slowly, upping the intensity and purpose towards the business end of the league phase. They put in a dominant display in last weekend’s 21-18 playoff win away to the Resolution Impala Saracens and will be called upon to do so once again this weekend when faced with the threat of the deejays.
They will brace themselves for a bruising battle up front and will look to the experience of Max Adaka, Duncan Mwangi, Hilary Mwanjilwa, George Nyambua and Daniel Sikuta to deliver the result.
It is also interesting to note that Homeboyz coach Paul Murunga and his Kabras counterpart were team-mates at the now defunct Ulinzi RFC as well as KCB where they won three league titles. They also featured for the Simbas during the heady years of their Elgon Cup dominance circa 2005-2008.
KCB host SportPesa Quins in Kenya Cup semifinal action at the KCB Sports Club in Ruaraka on Saturday 8 April 2017. This should be a hard fought encounter between two sides boasting the temerity of battle hardened gladiators. It should be epic ( if the script is anything to be adhered to).
The most recent meeting between the two sides was on March 18 and it ended in a 29-26 win for KCB at the RFUEA Ground, a result that set up the bankers for a second place finish and with it, direct qualification to the semifinals.
They will, however, need to guard against complacency, take the game by the scruff of its neck.
Quins had to endure the drama of a 32-31 playoff result over Mwamba to secure the date at Ruaraka. They will definitely look to shake off the memories from last weekend and put in a more efficient and effective display if they harbour ambitions of reaching the title-deciding the match.
The team that wants it more on the day, the team that is most effective and efficient on the day will stake a claim to the Kenya Cup final at the close of 80 plus minutes on Saturday.