All Hail Kabras, The Kings Of This Jungle!
All hail Kabras, them of house Opulence, the newest holders of the ‘Iron throne’ in this Kingdom that is the Kenya Cup.
Kabras made their ascend to the throne after drowning House Impala 22-5 in a one sided final battle, at a rain drenched Impala Club.
Impala had been odd on favourites to claim their 11th crown, in fact they had held the ‘favourites’ title throughout the season, with the final battle taking place at their backyard, there was no way they were going to loose this, or so we thought.
Kabras, like the rain, came out pounding at Impala, hard, from the word go. Before the hosts could settle, they found themselves trailing 8-0, to a Fabian Olando penalty and a beauty of a try from Brian Tanga inside the first 10 minutes. It was clear that Impala were shell shocked, Kabras had put the hammer down. The prevailing conditions weren’t doing them any favours either.
The next 10 minutes saw Impala try to get back into the thick of things, but were hard done by their handling and some resolute defending from the visitors. Kabras were growing in stature, somehow the conditions didn’t seem to hit them as hard as it did their opposite numbers.
The rain had now subsided, maybe this was Impala’s time to turn the tables. It was however Kabras who increased their lead, Fabian Olando from a penalty to make it 11-0. Impala had so far missed a couple of penalties, and as the half drew to a close they needed something to hold on to.
Impala had now pitched tent in the Kabras 22, looking to finish the first period on a high. A series of phases had seen them inch ever closer to the line. An infringement by Apenisa Natambua, saw the towering Fijian back row sent to the bin. Impala took the advantage immediately with Samson Onsomu going over, to take the score to 11-5 at the breather.
Apart from those closing 10 minutes, it had been all Kabras in that half. They had settled faster, and that man Edwin Achayo had been in the middle of everything good that came from the sugar millers. Achayo had given a master piece in game management, his distribution was perfect and he deployed his forwards with great mastery.
Impala had showed some glimpses of brilliance, especially from the backs through Sam Onsomu, stringing together a few phases but always falling short. Their kicking game had been nullified by some great fielding from Jone Kubu and his back three. The opening 10 minutes held a lot of promise for Impala who were a man up, with a 6 point deficit.
As if it were right on cue, the skies opened up with Constant Cap’s whistle for the start of the second half, this time it poured, relentlessly. Doing Impala’s chances little favours.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, it was Kabras who got the next score of the game, through Anthony Ogot from the back of a maul to make it 16-5. They were soon back to full complement as the clock hit the 50th minute mark.
From this point on, it was misery after misery for Impala as they tried to play catch up, nothing was going their way. Kabras were dominating every facet of play. Kubu was having a blinder 15, plucking balls from the air amidst the falling rain drops. It was clear that Kabras had prepared for aerial bombardment, from how their best aerial ball handlers always found themselves in the right areas.
Olando stretched his side’s lead to 14 points off a penalty that made it 19-5, with a little over 10 minutes to play. Kabras would continue to make forays into Impala territory, getting their final reward from another Olando penalty that took the score at full time to 22-5.
After two seasons in the top flight, Kabras are Kenya cup champions. In a season that most had all but written them off, the sugar millers had defied all odds to lift their maiden Kenya cup.
Their performance on the day hinged on their burly forwards, who under the direction if Edwin Achayo were more than a handful for their opposite numbers. They dominated the set piece, gave Impala no peace at the breakdown and were rampant in attack. As mentioned earlier they had prepared for the aerial play, they fielded 100% of the kicks, I only remember Jone Kubu dropping one ball, and that was after he had caught it then inexplicably let it slip on the step a few feet later.
Impala could’t re-adjust fast enough in this one and came out second best in most instances. Their forwards who had been peerless throughout the season, finally found their match on the water-logged turf. It was however still a great season for the Sarries, who brought the glory days back to the Pavilion, at this rate, Kenya cup number 11 isn’t that far away.
We are all very fast to call out bad officiating, at the weekend though, I saw some of the best officiating this season. Center referee Constant Cap had a solid, sober, accurate and balanced performance alongside Victor Oduor, Johnboaco Muamba and Anthony Ndong’ in nerve chilling conditions.
A big shout to all the fans that braved the rain to create that atmosphere at the Impala Club. A special mention to the crew that worked behind the scenes to bring you the action live on your TV sets and computers, in those horrid conditions, you are the real MVPs!
Hat tip to Kabras, and the other 13 sides that gave us, probably the best Kenya cup competition in recent history. I can’t wait for next season!