Could This Be Redemption For Impala and The Djs?
On a weekend where the all eyes will be on the fight for Kenya Cup qualification, two clubs will be on a path to redemption as they line up for the Enterprise Cup Semi finals.
The duo of Resolution Impala Saracens and Menengai cream Homeboyz RFC, losing semi finalists from the recently concluded Kenya cup and incidentally last year’s Enterprise Cup, will be out to disrupt the status quo when they come up against Kabras and KCB respectively.
So far, it has been a season of ‘almosts’ for the duo, bowing out of the Kenya cup in agonizing fashion, this weekend offers them a real chance at redemption when they line up against the sides that knocked them at at a similar stage in the last season’s Enterprise Cup.
On paper, the task seems easier for Kabras than it is for the DJs, who will take on a KCB side that will be without up to 17 of their regular squad players, owing to national team call ups and injuries. Homeboyz will however need to be wary of a second string KCB side filled with players who want to prove a point.
The Sarries travel to a Kakamega forest that they have had little or no joy in, as they face a hungry Kabras side, still hurting from that Kenya cup final defeat, itching to get their hands on some silverware this season.
Impala make the trip with a fine mixture of youth and experience with the likes of Davis Makori, Steve Juma and Joel Omer in the forwards, with George Okowa and Richard Sidindi offering the experience in the backs. The rest of the match day 23 features the likes of Xavier Kipngetich, Quinto Ongo, Mark Kwemoi, Tyson Okoth and Paul Mutsami.
The Sarries look like they are set up to play their free flowing brand of rugby, despite the prevailing weather conditions. If there is one thing we have learned from this Impala side, is that they are confident in their style of play and have the skills to back it up, no matter the conditions. If they do manage to play expansively and accurately, they might just sneak past the sugar daddies.
It will however be a tall order for the largely young Sarries who face a seasoned Kabras side who have named an experienced match day 23 littered with the familiar faces that took them to the brink of a second Kenya Cup title.
Hillary Odhiambo partners Geoffrey Messo in the second row, with Steve Olouch and Charlton Mokua marauding from the back row, while Fabian Olando partners Malik Habil in midfield.
Expect the trio of Edwin Achayo (9), Brian Tanga (10) and Kevin Keegan (15) to share the burden of pulling the strings as Kabras look to pound their way past Impala. If allowed to settle into a rhythm, there is no telling the amount of distraction this Kabras side can cause.
Over at the Lion’s den, where KCB’s match day 23 could easily pass up for an ESS side, especially at the forwards, with the day’s captain Felix Ojoo and Griffin Musila the only familiar names from the Kenya cup side. That being said the side is made up of no push overs and as they displayed last week against Mwamba.
The more familiar faces start popping up in the backs with the likes of Marlin Mukolwe, Shaban Ahmed, Ken Moseti, Brian Omondi and Collins Wanjala all in the starting line up. As I had mentioned earlier, this KCB side is littered with players who want to prove a point to the technical bench, the likes of Rocky Aguko, Elly Mukaisi, Francis Mwita, George Gichure, Griffin Musila and Elphas Otieno.
In front of them, will be a Homeboyz side that will be out to stamp their experience and impose their physical dominance early on. In their ranks the DJs have the likes of Dalmus Chituyi, Polycap Odhiambo, Thomas Okidia and Charles Omondi in the forwards, with Max Kangeri, Bush Mwale in the backs, all who can pack a devastating punch in the KCB defence.
The quartet of Kelvin Masai (9), Johnston Olindi (10) Leonard Mugaisi (14) and Mike Wanjala (15) will be tasked with creating the gaps for the big runs and carries. Watch out especially for the pairing of Masai and Olindi, if they hit their frequency early on, it will be a long afternoon for the Lions.
In the previous match, between Kabras and Impala I did not mention the respective benches, as it looks like the match will be won by either side’s starting fifteen. In this one however, the element of the reserves will come into play up at some point, where the Homeboyz have the likes of Alvin Otieno, William Diffu and Oscar Ayodi in waiting.
KCB have lined up the likes of Peter Waitere, George Asin and Adrian Opondo on the bench in case things don’t go to plan or they need to reinforce.
On paper the Homeboyz have the upper hand across the departments and come into this one as odd on favourites to end KCB’s 14 match unbeaten run this season. It is not everyday you get to say that about this KCB side, who will need to get their systems going early on if they expect to get anything from this one.
In Kakamega, Kabras seem to have everything going for them, including the weather, it looks like Impala will need nothing short of a miracle to get a result there. But you know what they say about knock out rugby and the bounce of a rugby ball…