It Is Finally Here…
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is finally here, the match that has been on everyone’s lips and keyboards since the Kenya Cup fixtures were released sometime in November 2018.
Ladies and Gentlemen, it is finally time for Kabras vs KCB and if you are anything like me, you are glad that this fixture is here mainly for two reasons.
First that we can finally move on to other important things, like how Blad are in 9th but could still make the Play offs or how Nondies are actually third on the log and are on course for a place in the play off.
Secondly, that we can finally put to rest this never ending ‘nani mkali’ battle, which according to me is neither here nor there, seeing as this is not the final. This would be a great time mention that I have a funny feeling, that one of these sides won’t be in the final in March.
Now that we are on the same page, let’s try look at this ‘big’ match..
Kabras come into this match on the back of a 10 game unbeaten run, that sees the cane cutters command the league on an almost perfect 49 points, 5 points ahead of their opponents at the weekend.
Their dominance however becomes clearer when you look at the next two columns on the left of the ‘Total points’ column. Going into this weekend, they sit on a point difference of 327, a clean 100 points more than…yes you guessed it, their opponents at the weekend.
Kabras have managed to earn a winning bonus in all their fixtures apart from one, against Quins, this being their only blemish this far. Not a bad blemish to have, is it?
This means that no matter the result on Saturday, Kabras will leave the Impala club as league leaders. To put it into context, for KCB to dislodge their opponents from the top of the log, they have to beat them by at least 101 points, while restricting them to a score of 0.
I could go on and on about Kabras, but to put it in one phrase, they come into this match as the odd on favourites.
KCB have had a lackluster season so far, by their lofty standards. 44 points from 10 matches, with a loss against Nondies coupled with close calls against Blakblad, Menengai Oilers and most recently Impala, have left most questioning the bankers’ title credentials this season.
What I have described under Kabras, was probably what many had expected of the bankers, this far into the season. For the first time in a while, KCB find themselves in unfamiliar territory, where they go into a match as the underdogs.
Like somebody else put it, KCB seem to have very many ideas and are yet to decide on one way to play.
To their credit KCB seem to have found a way to get things done, apart from the loss to Nondies, they have managed to grind out results where none have been coming, their most recent display coming against Impala, where they went into the break tied at 0-0, but sparked into life in the last quarter of the match.
KCB remains Kabras’ achilles heel, since the latter was promoted to the top flight. The closest Kabras have come to beating KCB was a 15 all draw in a league fixture played in Kakamega during the 2016/17 season.
This weekend provides yet another opportunity to the cane cutters to finally get one over the Lions and depending on who you ask, this might be their best shot yet.
Kabras have been, Sure, Strong and Superior, while there have been certain chinks in their armour, they have been ruthless when with ball in hand.
Expect a tight battle at the forwards, especially at the breakdown where each will be looking to disrupt the other from getting into a rhythm. At the set piece, Kabras seem to have a slight upper hand at the scrums, with KCB finding joy at the maul, so far this season.
At the backs, Kabras look to be the superior side, with their free flowing open play being their greatest weapon this season. That it will be an intense physical battle across the park is clear for everyone to see.
On the individual battles, it does not get any better than what will be on offer on Saturday.
In the back row, which is my pick of the match, will be Dan Sikuta, George Nyambua and Claude Johannes on one side, with Andrew Amonde, Davis Chenge and Peter Waitere on the other side.
At the front row, Ephraim Oduor, Max Adaka and Asuman Mugerwa will be up against Oscar Simiyu, Peter Karia and Curtis Lilako. The one we will all be probably looking out for will be the one at 15, with Philip Wokorach facing Darwin Mukidza.
With the exception of the final last season, encounters between these two have been heavily underwhelming, with one side dominating proceedings.
Looking at the talent on display, I don’t expect this to be the case on Saturday at the Impala Club, though maybe, it might be a case of the more things change…
Apart from this clash of the titans, there are a host of other mouth watering clashes around the country, starting from the ESS clash between two sides which can make up for a Kenya Cup fixture on any other day.
At the same venue, Impala will be taking on Homeboyz, Mwamba will take on Nakuru, as Nondies come up against their bogey side Blakblad.
It will be a repeat of last season’s Championship final when Menengai Oilers take on Mean Machine. Further down in the Championship, Kisii will host the Catholic Monks in what promises to be a cracker of a match.
Wherever you will be do enjoy your rugby weekend, and can we all please agree to move on to other stories after this match, especially hapo Rugby Banter HQ!
KWISHA… Nimeruka Nje!!!