Lions Stand In The Way Of Djs First Top Flight Title
Ever since winning back to back Eric Shirley Shield titles in 2010 and 2011, never have the Homeboyz been this close to a fifteens title.
The Djs have been steadily growing over the last four seasons in the top flight, mixing it up with the big boys in the last two to become a real power house of the modern era. At the weekend they will be walking out in their first top flight final in the 15s for a chance to finally write their names in the history books in the Country’s oldest tournament.
Their opponents the Lions, are not new to big finals in whatever form of the game. Fresh from winning the Kenya cup just a few weeks ago, KCB played in three finals in the last two seasons, this will be their fourth.
In the build up to the Enterprise cup, I remember about the magic that comes with the cup. Many had predicted a replay of last year’s final where Nakuru took on KCB. What with the defending champions relinquishing the Kenya Cup, they surely wouldn’t let go of the Enterprise title, now would they?
Enter the Djs, who had finished a distant eighth in the Kenya Cup, having beaten Blak Blad 41-5 in the pre qualifiers the draw saw them travel to the dreaded Suguta Valley to face the defending champions. The Wanyore would dance to the Djs tune as they exited the competition after a 13-11 defeat.
On the other end of the draw KCB would get past Quins 13-8 at the den, this result would see the two semi finals played at the den. The first, a clash between two sides that have formed an interesting rivalry over the years, Strathmore taking on the Homeboyz.
The Djs have never lost to the Leos ever since they were promoted, that record held after an explosive 100 minutes at the den. It however looked like that record was going to crumble with the Leos leading 8-3 with precious few minutes left, before Oscar Ayodi struck to tie the score and take the match to extra time.
From this point the Homeboyz had the cooler heads and luck on their side as they edged out the Leos 15-13 to book this final spot. The Lions on their part limited Impala to rare threats as they claimed a 25-15 result to complete the final line up.
This fixture has more history than meets the eye and in many ways can be termed as a derby of sorts. See when Homeboyz were formed they basically took 80% of KCB’s second side, together with former captain Paul Murunga who has since taken up Head coach duties. To say these two know each other well, is an understatement.
Interestingly what the Djs are to the Leos, the Lions are to the Djs. Homeboyz have never beaten KCB ever since the former’s promotion to the top flight. The last time these two met, the Lions were 41-5 winners in a Kenya Cup fixture. Could the Djs make the Lions dance to their tune for the first time at the biggest stage?
In that last encounter, Max Adaka edged out the battle against his opposite number Joshua Chisanga, that battle having a domino effect on the match as a whole. With the return of Elphas Etemesi and Augustine Lughonzo from injury for the Homeboyz since that last meeting, the Djs look to be a more solid outfit add to that list Oscar Ayodi and Bush Mwale who also missed that league encounter.
The Lions remain largely unchanged with the only probable change being club captain Andrew Amonde slotting into the back row to make the battle in that area even tastier.
Haroun Lubisia is set to face it off against Ken Moseti, the two know each other quite well seeing as Moseti once plied his trade for the Djs. In the semis, head coach Paul Murunga opted to use Oscar Ayodi at wing, if he sticks to the same script then Oscar will be up against Collins Wanjala and Jacob Ojee on either side.
But with Mugaisi expected back Oscar will probably resume a more familiar role at center. That battle in the back three though will not suffer as far as anticipation goes with Mugaisi, Alvin Otieno and probably Augustine Lughonzo up against Jacob Ojee, Collins Wanjala and Darwin Mukidza.
At centre, Brian Omondi and Fabian Olando will again partner for the Lions with Max Kangeri and either Kevin Ochami or Oscar Ayodi. While the Lions will are expected to look to dictate proceedings in the forwards where they hold an advantage on paper. The Djs will be out to keep the set piece count low, opting to play it in the backs more.
If these two turn up on the day, then we will be in for a real cracker. With the Lions looking to erase last year’s last minute heartbreak at the same stage to wrap up the double, and the Djs looking for their first piece of silverware in the top flight.
Preceding this final, will be two other equally explosive finals in the Mwamba Cups. Defending champions KCB II and Impala III will be out to defend the Mwamba Cup division I and II titles they won last year. KCB II will be up against Kabras II at 2:00 PM, with Impala III taking on MKU Thika for the Division II title at noon.
Meanwhile on the campaign front, we are into the final straight, voting closes on Monday 20th April, keep those votes coming tuone mahali Mwenyezi Atatufikisha, asanteni. Click here upande mbegu, kwa kupiga kura..usiwachwe nyuma ndugu yangu, dada yangu!