Shika Shika Time
Back in the day, when guys used to go for Disco and not ‘dunda’ I am told that there used to be a period that they called ‘shika shika.’ A very crucial few hours during which the fate of your night was largely decided.
During this period, the music would slow down, the lights dimmed, it usually meant that you had to hold what (rather who) is yours and keep them close. In short it was ‘shika wako ama ukatulie kwa mawe..’
For Kenya Cup 2015/16, it is shika shika time, we are now well and truly in the business end of the season. In our case though the action doesn’t slow down it goes up a few notches and the battles, even more fierce. In the next 6 weeks, the teams currently in the top 8 slots will play each other at least once, as the race for those top six slots hits a crescendo.
To start us off will be a block buster at the Impala club as second placed KCB take on 4th placed Leos with league leaders Impala taking on 7th placed Kabras. In Nakuru, 5th will be taking on 6th when the Wanyore host Mwamba RFC.
Nakuru v Mwamba – 4.00pm – Nakuru Athletic Club, Nakuru.
These two are currently tied on 46 points, with Nakuru in 5th courtesy of their superior aggregate tally. Whenever these two meet there is more than just fireworks, this time expect an even bigger display. As they look to take full advantage of the result between KCB and Strathmore.
The Wanyore had a shaky start to the season, that coupled with a few in house issues saw many all but write them off from the play offs. But since that home loss to Kabras, Nakuru have had a new lease of life their young charges have stepped up to the plate under the guidance of the older guys.
Their biggest improvement has been at the forwards, an area they are renowned for. Against Quins they were unrelenting, with the backs feeding off this to produce an a breath taking performance. They warmed up for this one with a centurion display beating the Sharks 110-15 in Bungoma.
Kulabu travel to Nakuru in confident form, having won 5 of 5 in their last fixtures, including a 13-11 win over Homeboyz. They have so far blown hot and cold this season, they will have to hit their best form here if they are to take points from this fixture.
With the likes of Humphrey Kayange, Collins Injera and Dennis Ombachi doing duty for the national sevens side, the likes of Dan Skuta, Edwin Machanje, Mike Agevi, Louis Kisia and if available Lavin Asego, Horace Otieno, Kevin Wambua and Tito Oduk will be vital for the side.
Brad Owako Shaban Ahmed and Hyke Otieno have been in imperious form for the black shirts this far, alongside Felix Otieno who had a great outing last weekend, will also have a crucial role to play if picked for this one.
If Kulabu can put a lid on the Nakuru forwards, their job here will be half way done, with an expected upper hand in the backs. Kulabu also had a straight forward 31-8 win against a tough battling Thika RFC.
Strathmore Leos v KCB – 2.00pm – Impala Club
This will be the second meeting between these two, with the first on match day 4 ending in a 27-25 win for Strathmore at the Railway club. Since then the Leos have gone on to win 6 and lose 3 of their last 9 matches. The Lions have been on an almost similar run, winning 6, drawing 1 and losing 2.
The Lions are currently in second spot, tied on 51 points with the Kenya Harlequin but boasting of a superior aggregate points tally. The Leos are in fourth, four points behind their opponents at the weekend.
Last time out, the Leos simply refused to lie down against the defending champions, coming back from 18-10 at half time to claim that result. They refused to bulge at the forwards and stood toe to toe with the KCB forwards while obliterating the competition at the backs.
It will have to be more of the same at the weekend if they are to complete the double over KCB. The likes of John Okwara, Eric Kioko, Tony Owuor, and Brian Nyikuli will be vital at the forwards with Alex Olaba, Cyprian Kuto and Tony Onyango expected to do the most damage at the backs.
The Lions have so far been lukewarm at best, but have surprisingly managed to stay within the top 6. You feel that from this point, lukewarm won’t cut it anymore. Especially against this Leos side.
Theirs has been an injury laden season, after welcoming back Rocky Aguko a few weeks back, they are set to miss Billy Isabwa and Allan Omuka to long lay offs.
The likes of Curtis Lilako, Oliver Mang’eni, John Ahenda and Elly Mukaisi will have to lead the charge at the forwards, an area they will have to dominate if they are to get anything here. Ken Moseti will probably slot in at fly half and alongside Darwin Mukidza should lead the tune for the backs.
Impala Saracens v Kabras – 4.00pm – Impala Club
The league leaders host a resurgent Kabras sugar side in what is expected to be the tie of the weekend. Just to underline how important this one is, Kabras have been in camp in Nairobi for the last two weeks in preparation.
Impala have rarely put a foot wrong this season, apart from when it is against Quins the only side to have beaten them. The Sarries are on 56 points, 5 above the chasing pack. No matter how this one goes they will still end game week 14 at the summit.
For Kabras, this will be a final in every sense, the first leg of a final, if you look at their upcoming fixtures as they will host Impala in Kakamega on match day 17. They are in 7th spot on 44 points.
After a start to forget in this season, Kabras made a bright start to 2016 and have won 7 of their 8 fixtures this year, losing once to Homeboyz on match day 7. They currently hold the best recent form in the league, a run of 6 wins from 6, a record they will want to stretch at the weekend.
Kabras will be wary of the potent Impala back line and indeed entire squad, the likes of Fabian Olando, Nick Barasa and Jone Kubu will have to marshal those around them to keep a lid on the fluid backs. It is expected that Kabras will have an upper hand at the forwards, if for nothing else then just for the sheer size they posses in this department.
Impala will be without Sammy Oliech who has been an integral part of that Impala back line, this should be of little worry to the Sarries as in his place should be George Okowa, an equally nifty runner with a deft eye for the gap. It will be that man Nato Simiyu that will again be looked at for all the creativity, alongside Samson Onsomu.
At the forwards the likes of Dennis Karani, Davis Makori and Duncan Ekasi will probably face their sternest test this season as they come up against the likes of Duncan Mwangi, Max Adaka and the man they call Big Ben.
If Impala can stretch these Kabras forwards then they will be home and dry if they however play into their hands, the backs will be starved off the ball and it could turn into a long day for them.
Other fixtures will see Thika RFC host Mean Machine in a potential relegation decider at the Thika Stadium. Thika are in 12th on 6 points one ahead of Machine in 13th. Quins travel to Bungoma to face the Sharks, this might be their first trip of two to the western town.
Homeboyz will also be in western to begin life in earnest without Joshua Chisanga as they take on the Bulls at the Kakamega High School.
Collated Match Day 14 fixtures :
Strathmore Leos v KCB – 2.00pm – Impala Club – *Live on Zuku & K24.
Impala Saracens v Kabras – 4.00pm – Impala Club – *Live on Zuku & K24.
Western Bulls v Homeboyz – 4.00pm – The Bull Ring, Kakamega.
Blak Blad v Nondescripts – 4.00pm – Kenyatta University.
Kenya Sharks v Kenya Harlequin – 4.00pm – Bungoma High School, Bungoma.
Thika v Mean Machine – 4.00pm – Thika Stadium, Thika.
Nakuru v Mwamba – 4.00pm – Nakuru Athletic Club, Nakuru.