Teams leave action behind, chase Soya glory

Sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala participates in a celebrity relay race during the 59th Jamhuri day celebrations at the Nyayo National Stadium on December 12, 2022. ( Kelly Ayodi, Standard)

Kabras Sugar Rugby Club is among the top contenders for men’s team of the year gong at the 2022 Sports Personality of the Year Awards (SOYA) slated for Nairobi on January 20.

The 19th edition of the annual gala awards will be held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre.

Butali Sugar hockey team, the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) handball team, the Team Kenya 4x100m quartet and the Commonwealth Games 4x400m team are also in the race for the coveted men’s team of the year trophy.

Other sides that are in contention are Menengai Oilers Rugby Club; the national 15s rugby team (Kenya Simbas) and national under-20 rugby team (Chipu).

Kabras Sugar had an impressive run in rugby last season retaining both the Kenya Cup league and the Enterprise Cup.

It was the second Kenya Cup victory that Kabras were clinching after beating Menengai Oilers 34-28 in the final on March 12th in Kakamega.

They also went ahead to top the Kenya Cup regular season with 50 points drawn from 10 wins and one loss.

Topping the league charts set them up for a play-off battle with Strathmore Leos whom they dismissed 29-9 in the semi-finals that was also played in Kakamega.

It was the same zest that they used to edge out Menengai Oilers 9-6 in the finals at the RFUEA ground on April 19 to emerge league champions.

On the other hand, the Menengai Oilers Rugby team won the National Sevens Series title for the first time after accumulating 113 points.

The Oilers won Prinsloo Sevens after edging out Strathmore Leos 12-7 besides finishing second at Dala, Driftwood and Kakamega Sevens.

It was also the first time the Oilers reached the Kenya Cup final after stunning defending champions KCB 24-17 in the semis before losing to Kabras Sugar in the final.

Chipu settled for bronze in the 2022 Rugby Africa Barthes Trophy at Nyayo National Stadium on April 17.

John Okoth of Kenya Simbas breaks clear to score his team's first try of the game during the RWC 2023 Final Qualification Tournament match between Hong Kong and Kenya.[World Rugby]

Coach Curtis Olago’s juniors walloped Madagascar 49-15 in an entertaining third place playoff match.

Chipu, who were the defending champions, lost 16-5 to former champions Namibia in the semi-finals on April 13, while Madagascar also suffered a 32-3 loss at the hands of Zimbabwe.

The Kenya Simbas settled for silver at World Cup Africa qualifiers after losing to Namibia 36-0 in the tournament that doubled up as the Africa Gold Cup in France in July.

Kenya Simbas had beaten Uganda 42-7 in the quarter-final and Algeria 36-33 in the semi-final.

Kenya Simbas' appearance in the final was enough to secure them a place in the 2023 Rugby World Cup (RWC) final qualifying tournament where they lost all their matches to Portugal, United States and Hong Kong.

The Africa 100m champion Ferdinand Omanyala anchored 4x100m “Team Imeta” to a historic 4x100m victory at the Africa Senior Athletics Championships on June 10 at the Cote d’or National Sports Complex in Mauritius.

Omanyala took over the baton from Samuel Imeta after a good exchange from Dan Kiviasi and Dennis Otieno before cruising home in 39.28 victory. It was the first time Kenya won gold in 4x100 at the continental event.

The team beat Akani Simbine’s defending champions South Africa to second place in 39.79 as Zimbabwe claimed bronze in 39.81.

Omanyala, who had just won the men’s 100m title, anchored the 4x100m team to second place in heat two to qualify for the final at Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on August 6.

The team that comprised Omanyala, Imeta, Mike Mokamba and Hesbon Ochieng clocked a National Record of 38.92 seconds to finish behind Nigeria in 38.85 seconds.

However, a mishap in baton handling saw the team fail to finish their race in the final.

Kenya’s team of Wiseman Were, Mokamba, William Rayian and Boniface Mweresa settled for bronze in men’s 4x400m in season’s best 3:02.41 at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The team had earlier won their semi-final heat in 3:06.76.

The NCPB handball team won the league in March. They went ahead to clinch the Kenya Handball Federation Super Cup in May.

The SOYA gala returns to Nairobi after a county edition in Mombasa County in 2018 and 2019, Nakuru in 2020 and Kakamega in 2021.

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