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SPORTS

Is it time for Kabras Sugar to taste Kenya Cup sweetness?

RUGBY By Washington Onyango | September 4th 2021
Kenya Cup action between Kabras Sugar and KCB. [Washington Onyango,Standard]

Kabras Sugar head coach Dominique Habimana believes time has come for the sugar millers to finally win the Kenya Cup final.

Kabras and KCB have met in four previous Kenya Cup finals -2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – all of them ending in KCB’s favour.

Kabras though, have won the two most recent fixtures against the bankers – 19-6 during the suspended 2019-2020 season and 30-23 during this year’s regular season.

Speaking to the Standard Sports ahead of the final against defending champions KCB today at Nandi Bears Club, Habimana said Kabras has everything to win the championship.

“We have been trying to eliminate things that slow the progress of our system of play and replaced them with modern tactics and executions that have seen our system of play blossom throughout the season,” said Habimana.

Kabras are enjoying a 19-match winning run that stretches two years back with their last defeat coming on December 14, 2019 when they narrowly lost 20-17 to Homeboyz.

The Sugar men have a 100 per cent win record this season after winning all their matches before the finals.

They knocked out Strathmore Leos 39-19 in the semis last weekend to reach the final for the sixth time in a row.

“Now, Kabras has the ability to win the title and it is just a matter of time before we actualise this dream,” said the coach.

Habimana, who took over from Zimbabwean tactician Mzingaye Nyathi after leaving in side mid-season, added that Kabras are physically and mentally ready for the finals.

“Rugby, being a contact sport par excellence, requires that the players’ bodies be properly conditioned for each and every game.

“In terms of mental prep, the team as a whole -including the fans and sponsor, resolved that we will not be denied one more time, and so we’ve been doing all the right things, big and small.

“The major lesson for us this year is about resilience and especially with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic due to all the required protocols and restrictions, but we’ve tried our best to comply and keep ourselves and our families and community safe,” said Habimana.

Being a final pitting the best teams in the country at the moment, the final which will be hosted outside Nairobi for the second consecutive time promises to be a close contest and an entertaining one.

Having finished top of the log in the regular season, Kabras opted to host the match at Nandi Bears Club which has hosted their final three home matches in the run-up to the Kenya Cup final and not Kakamega Showground since Western region was declared a Covid-19 hot spot zone.

Western Region rugby stakeholder and Masinde Muliro University Rugby assistant coach John Asila added that the final will be won by defence, kicking and bench power.

Heading to the final, both sides have the best defensive squads in the league (Kabras conceded just 100 points while KCB let in 164 in the 11 matches played) and best kickers in the league (Kabras’s Ntabeni Dukisa registered 103 points and KCB’s Darwin Mukidza follows with 49 points).

“The last time the two sides met, Dukisa scored 15 points off his boots and Mukidza 13 points. This shows how much the final can be decided through penalties and conversions,” said Asila.

This will be the 13th Kenya Cup meeting between Kabras RFC and KCB.

KCB have won nine, drawn once and lost twice.

The bankers have a 100 per cent win record in the finals against Kabras, winning all the last four encounters. 

As KCB will be banking on the leadership of experienced Andre Amonde, Curtis Lilako, Jacob Ojee, Mukidza and Vincent Onyala, Kabras will be looking upto senior players such Dan Sikuta, Felix Ayange, Brian Tanga, George Nyambua, Jone Kubu and Asuman Mugerwa to lead the side to the title.

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