There Is Something About This Final.
For what seems like the umpteenth time, the now four time Kenya Cup finalists Kabras Sugar RFC are meeting KCB RFC in a final, this time the 2017/18 Kenya Cup final. Since the earlier’s promotion, the two sides have met in four finals, two in the Kenya Cup and two in the Enterprise cup, both of those ending in KCB wins. While it might look like a foregone conclusion that KCB will make it five from five…there is something about this final.
Something different, that KCB must be wary about if at this moment they think that they will easily run over Kabras like they have in the past. Especially considering that the Lions mauled the sugar cane cutters 41-12 at the den, the last time these two met.
Kabras come into this final, as underdogs, which is a statement you don’t get to hear every now and then, as the Sugar millers have been no slouches this season. Apart from that loss to KCB, their only other bleep came against the Homeboyz in Kakamega on match day eight when they lost 30-12. That can however be marked off from their record as they beat the DJs to make this final.
KCB have almost been unplayable this season, having only dropped points on the last match day of the league, salvaging a draw against Impala, the same side they blanked 15-0 to make this final date. They are overwhelming favourites to successfully defend their title on Saturday evening and have a bit more to lose in this final.
Kabras haven’t beaten KCB since their promotion to the top flight in 2013, that is eight matches in the Kenya Cup and two in the Enterprise Cup. This is where KCB need to be wary, as they will be facing a very different Kabras side who might know a thing or two about how the intricacies of their play.
In more ways than one, this final will not only have the eyes and ears of Kenyan rugby fans, but is set to draw the attention of the Western Province technical bench. Ahead of this season, KCB famously toured Western Province to train under the club, more recently they had a few of the WP technical bench members take them through a camp before the semi final. So KCB have been technically playing from the WP play book.
This is where it gets interesting, after that loss to KCB, the Sugar Millers turned to an all too familiar name in former Kenya Simbas head coach Jerome Paarwater, who also happens to be part of the WP technical bench. He has been with the Kabras side in an advisory role.
What this means is that above all else, this will be a battle of technical wits, on one side Jerome will know KCB’s playbook like the back of his hand, meaning that KCB will probably lose the one edge they have had all season. This will be Curtis Olago’s sternest test yet, he on the other hand will see Kabras’ plays before hand, if Jerome has brought with him the same play book he has been using at the den.
This final will probably be decided by moments of individual brilliance and there is a great selection of individuals that can make that happen on both sides. Top of mind will be the duo of Philip Wokorach and Darwin Mukidza, however when you look closely the match day 23s, there are match winners scattered all over.
From the likes of Brain Tanga, Max Adaka, Fabian Olando, Nick Brasa, Asuman Mugerwa, Edwin Achayo, Kelvin Omiyo and Kevin Keegan on one side. Shaban Ahmed, Peter Kilonzo, Oliver Mangeni and Nick Ongeri on the other.
If the weather holds, we will be in for a real treat of rugby on Saturday, while the bookmakers might hand it to KCB, the more keen eye will be a bit more wary of this rejuvenated Kabras side who are on a war path. If however the skies above the den decide to open up, this game will be won by the side that hits the score board early and consistently.
Whichever way you look at it, we are in for a cracker of an evenly poised final.