Masinde Muliro savor Kenya Cup promotion as Leos return

MMUST RFC players celebrate after earning promotion to Kenya Cup. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) RFC head coach Ahaya Ochieng is upbeat of performing well in the Kenya Cup after being promoted to the top tier league on Saturday.

Speaking during an interview with the Standard Sports yesterday, Ochieng said they are working towards turning the university side into a dominant force in the Kenya Cup this year.

“It’s hard to describe what we have achieved as a young team. We are more than excited to qualify for Kenya Cup. It makes us really happy and can’t wait to brush shoulders with the big dogs,” a jubilant Ochieng said.

MMUST thrashed University of Nairobi’s outfit Mean Machine 21-12 to become the first Western region university to qualify for Kenya Cup.

KRU had earlier indicated that the KRU Championship final wouldn't be played, but instead, the two teams will proceed to Kenya Cup.

Tyson Juma, Venance Shikuba and Timothy Mmasi converted tries overpowered Machines two penalties and two drop goals, handing the Kakamega side a ticket to the top league.

Machine’s points came from Festus Shiasi’s boot, chalking two penalties and two drop goals.

“Now we begin a new life Alife of new ambitions and targets, with the main objective being to become a dominant force and a regular participant in the league,” said Ochieng.

MMUST RFC head coach Ahaya Ochieng. [Washington Onyango, Standard]

In Nairobi, Strathmore Leos returned back to the Kenya Cup after thumping Northern Suburbs 23-6 in a one-sided match.

The Leos landed two converted tries and three penalties to tame Suburbs, who managed two penalties.

Tony Fidels found the sticks for Suburbs but all was in vain as their dream of making it to their first Kenya Cup came tumbling d

Arnold Muita and Philemon Olang scored a try each before Muita converted them both besides curling home a penalty. Andrew Matoka sealed the deal fo Leos with two other penalties.

The win saw Leos finish the season unbeaten in their a-year stay in the championship and captain Gabriel Adero is optimistic of another great year in the Kenya Cup.

“It feels great to be back because that’s where we belong. We have been training hard together for this, guys have been consistent with training and putting a lot of hard work. As a team we’re so grateful that whatever skills we trained for worked for us,” said the captain.

Strathmore Leos captain Gabriel Adero. [Washington Onyango]

Adero said training together with the same players for two straight seasons really helped them maintain their form and unbeaten run since they were able to understand each other on the field.

He said their eyes are now fixed at playing in the Kenya Cup playoffs.

“Taking one game at a time worked for us and we plan on doing the same in the Kenya Cup but our main focus is to be at the playoffs coming end of the season,” he said.

Strathmore will kick-off their return to the Kenya Cup with a trip to champions KCB on Feb 27 while MMUST will travel to face runners-up Kabras Sugar at the Kakamega Showground.

They replace Western Bulls and Kisumu RFC who were relegated at the end of 2019/20 campaign.

KRU Championship Semifinal playoffs results:

MMUST 21-12 Mean Machine

Strathmore Leos 23-6 Northern Suburbs

Kenya Cup week one fixtures:

Kabras Sugar v MMUST

KCB v Starthmore Leos

Homeboyz v Nondescript

Impala Saracens v Kenya Harlequin

Mwamba v Blak Blad

Menengai Oilers v Nakuru

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