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Kabras Sugar: The unstoppable force of Kenyan rugby

Rugby
 

Kabras Sugar’s Mathias Osimbo (left) and Lamec Ambetsa celebrate. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

In the vibrant heart of Kenyan rugby, Kabras Sugar RFC stands as an indomitable titan, casting an imposing shadow over all who dare to challenge their supremacy.

Their relentless pursuit of excellence has seen them achieve a feat unparalleled in the annals of the sport: winning the coveted double—both the Kenya Cup and the Enterprise Cup—unbeaten for three consecutive seasons.

This unprecedented run of dominance reached new heights last Saturday when they triumphed over their arch-rivals KCB Rugby, securing a fourth straight Enterprise Cup title with a commanding 32-20 victory.

Kabras Sugar’s journey to rugby greatness has been nothing short of extraordinary.

The team, affectionately known as the sugar men, has transformed the landscape of Kenyan rugby, turning every challenge into a showcase of their prowess.

 Kabras' Captain George Nyambua is tackled by Elfas Adunga during Enterprise Cup final at RFUEA Grounds. June 9, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

This season’s double victory over KCB Rugby, whom they defeated 29-5 in the Kenya Cup final back in April, has only solidified their reputation as the undisputed kings of the sport in Kenya.

The final whistle on Saturday marked not just another win, but a continuation of a legacy.

South African Ntabeni Dukisa, Humphrey Asiligwa, James Olela, and Teddy Akala each crossed the whitewash, leaving the opposition in their wake and the crowd in awe.

Their collective efforts epitomise the teamwork, strategies, and skills that have become synonymous with Kabras Sugar RFC.

With titles in 2019, 2022, 2023, and now 2024, only the pandemic interruptions of 2020 and 2021 have kept them from potentially extending their reign even further.

 Kabras head coach  Carlos Kaytwa during Enterprise Cup final against KCB at RFUEA Grounds. June 9, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Central to Kabras’ enduring success is head coach Carlos Katywa, whose leadership and vision have been instrumental in crafting a team that thrives under pressure and excels in execution.

Reflecting on their recent triumphs, Katywa shed light on the underlying principles that drive the team.

“Our success is built on a foundation of hard work, discipline, and a never-say-die attitude,” he said.

“We have a strong squad depth, and everyone knows their role and executes it with perfection. The unbeaten streak is a testament to the players’ commitment and support from the entire Kabras community.”

Katywa’s strategic acumen has been pivotal, ensuring that Kabras not only win but do so in style.

Their game-plan blends brute strength with intricate playmaking, creating a brand of rugby that is both entertaining and effective.

The forward pack, robust and relentless, lays a formidable platform, allowing the backs to unleash their flair and speed. This dynamic approach has left opponents scrambling, unable to find answers to Kabras’ multifaceted game.

The rivalry with KCB Rugby has added a dramatic edge to Kabras’ victories. Once fierce adversaries, KCB have found themselves repeatedly outclassed, reduced to the role of spectators in Kabras’ ongoing saga of success.

The 32-20 loss in the Enterprise Cup final was not just a win; it was a statement. Kabras are here to stay, and they are setting the bar higher with each passing season.

As the dust settles on another victorious campaign, Kabras Sugar RFC looks ahead with the confidence of a team that knows its worth.

The infrastructure supporting the team, from youth development programs to community engagement, ensures a steady pipeline of talent and unwavering support.

Kabras chairman Edwin Esilaba credited their dominance to their passionate fans and the age-group development system the club started in 2019.

Esilaba said they have developed a culture of growing and nurturing their own talent fresh from high school compared to previous years where they porched big names internationally and locally.

“The age-grade development enabled us to rotate our squads for the entire season. Through rotation, our squad was able to rest building up to the playoffs. In previous season (2017-2021), our players reached the post-season worn out and depleted of energy.

“If you look closely in the previous finals we lost, we had no bench power; the players started well but would tire with no back up plan. That has since changes,” explained Esilaba.

“Our squad average age is 23-27 years. We have close to 20 players regularly on national duty (Kenya Simbas and Kenya Sevens) which is a good thing.”

In a sport where fleeting moments of glory are common, Kabras Sugar RFC’s sustained excellence stands out.

Their unbeaten doubles over three seasons are not merely records; they are milestones that highlight a journey of dedication, skill, and unyielding spirit.

As they bask in the glory of yet another double, the message is clear: Kabras Sugar RFC is not just dominating Kenyan rugby—they are redefining it.

Kabras Sugar RFC

Head Coach-Carlos Katywa

Chairman-Edwin Esilaba

Achievements

Kenya Cup-2016, 2022, 2023, 2024

Enterprise Cup-2019, 2022, 2023, 2024

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