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Kabras, KCB fight for Kenya Cup honours

Three-time former champions Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) and newcomers Kabras Sugar will face off in the Kenya Cup rugby league final at the RFUEA grounds on Saturday.

The last time the bankers held the title was in 2007 when they completed a hat trick of back-to-back victories.

Kabras Sugar are meanwhile celebrating their second year in rugby, having won the Nationwide League to qualify for the 2014/2014 Kenya Cup season.

Many analysis didn’t give the team that is being handled by former KCB forward Anthony Ogot a chance but they have silenced their critics to make to the final.

They did it in style, dispatching titleholders Nakuru 15-12 in a tight semi-final last weekend as the bankers also weathered the storm against Strathmore Leos to sail through with a 24-21 win.

Interestingly, Ogot, who played in flanking position against Nakuru in the semi-final, will also be taking to the grounds against Curtis Olago, who coached him for four years including last year’s final where KCB lost to Nakuru 20-13.

 EXPERIENCE AND CONFIDENCE

“I should say it will be emotional for me, coming up against my family and home,” said Ogot. “But this game has to be played. We have come all the way from western not just to play but to win.”

However, Ogot reckoned that the bankers have got quality and oozes experience and confidence.

“They know how to play big games but we have the spirit,” he Ogot who isn’t the only one going against his former side but also some top class players that catapulted Kabras to the final.

They are prop Dennis Mukabi, flanker Geoffrey Messo, second row Steve Oluoch, eighth man Polycarp Odhiambo and centre Perminus Macharia, who has replaced injured Nick Baraza, who fractured his hand against Nakuru.

“I am telling my boys to take the match like the previous one since nothing is different apart from the word final,” said Ogot. “Hard work, dedication and team spirit has been the overriding factor for us.”

It’s Nakuru who made history by becoming the first club outside Nairobi to win Kenya Cup in the 2012/2013 season before retaining it the following season.

So is the coveted trophy heading to the cradle of rugby that is western Kenya this time around?

 VICIOUS IN THE RUCKS

Well, Olago is definitely having other ideas as he warned his charges not to underrate Kabras Sugar by virtue of them reaching the final.

“We shall have to be vicious in the rucks and especially at our opponents 22m area,” said Olago. “We shall have to uphold discipline at the breakdowns not to concede penalties.”

Man-of-the-match against Strathmore, fullback Darwin Mukidza, who curled home a penalty that put KCB into the final, should be doing his thing alongside left winger Jacob Ojee, second row Oliver Mangeni and Kenya Sevens skipper Andrew Amonde.

The final, which will be handled by referee Andrew Karani, gets under way at 4pm.

Nakuru will engage Strathmore Leos for the third place play-off at 2pm.

Thika RFC and Bungoma Sharks, who have already been promoted to Kenya Cup next season, will clash in the Nationwide League final at 12pm.