Menengai Oilers are keen on upsetting hosts Impala Saracens as this year’s edition of the Floodlit tournament starts with the quarter-finals today.
The showpiece, played at the Impala Club over three weekends, ushers the 15s season with teams using it to prepare for the 2019-20 Kenya Cup campaign which starts on October 26.
The winner of the Impala and Oilers duel, which starts at 5:50pm, will set up a semi-final meeting with either Kenya Harlequin or Nakuru RFC next weekend and Oilers coach Gibson Weru is aware that it will require something special to eliminate the home team who have won the Floodlit title seven times.
“They (Impala) are a very good side and the blend between their forwards and backs is superb. We expect them to be very strong in their forward play and the set-pieces will be a hotly contested area. We are well prepared for the match and I hope we shall give a good account of ourselves,” said Weru.
The trainer said lack of match fitness might take its toll on both sets of players, a good number of them having not played competitively after the conclusion of the Kenya Cup league in May.
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“The most important players for us are those we had in previous seasons because they are conversant with our systems. Most of the new signings will take some time to adapt and it will not be fair to expect much from them at this point,” said Weru.
In today’s match, the Nakuru-based Oilers will miss the services of Harold Anduvate, Amos Onyinkwa, Davis Nyaundi, Derrick Keyoga, Chrispin Shitundo and Eman Okwako.
The six, alongside new signing Dalmus Chituyi, are still recuperating from different injuries.
Meanwhile, defending champions KCB will launch their quest for a third title in succession against Kenyatta University’s Blak Blad, a match the bankers are widely tipped to win.
Another quarter-final tie will see Nondescripts clash with Homeboyz as two sides who have hired new coaches, Kenya Harlequin and Nakuru RFC face off.
Quins are under the tutelage of Dominique Habimana while Wanyore, as Nakuru RFC is popularly known, settled on Felix Oloo to replace Mitch Ocholla.
In the Universities category, Catholic University of Eastern Africa will play Kenya College of Accountancy as University of Nairobi’s Mean Machine, tackle Daystar.
Meanwhile, Strathmore Leos will face Technical University of Kenya with USIU coming up against Swara, Impala’s second-string side.