Unstoppable Absa tug of war teams set sights on gold

Absa Bank Tug of War team beat CBK during the 5th edition of the Kenya Institute (KIB) Bankers Interbank games at the Absa ground on Oct 23, 2023. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Absa Bank tug of war teams are simply unstoppable at the ongoing 37th edition of Kenya Institute of Bankers (KIB) Interbank games in Ruaraka, Nairobi.

They are simply the talk of the town. They are hell let loose, they are running riot, rounding their opponents who are quacking in their boots in their matched up fixtures.

Absa men have shown that they are out to bag gold this season.

Last year, they missed the finals by a whisker which saw them take bronze home in the playoff.

Their women counterparts are in full throttle to defend the gold they won for the first time last year.

So far, the women have won all their matches in the tournament after cruising over the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), I&M Bank and Housing Finance Corporation of Kenya.

To show they mean business this season, Absa men proved their mettle against defending champions CBK on Tuesday night.

They beat the latter 2-1 in the pulsating battle that was staged at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies.

The feat saw them top the pool and qualify for the semi-finals slated for Saturday.

Last night (Wednesday) they were waiting to tackle Victoria Commercial Bank in their final group game, a fixture they deemed as just a walk in the park.

In their early matches, the men cruised over Gulf Bank, I$M Bank and NCBA Bank with 2-0 victory each.

"We feel we are the favourites this year, we are all on fire, we see all our teams lifting gold this season," Absa team's overall captain Christine Andenga told Standard Sports.

Andenga has attributed their good run in the tournament to the intense and elaborate preparations they had since August.

"We trained for two months, and we roped in some of the best coaches in the country.

"The two tacticians are from the General Service Unit (GSU).

"As you know, GSU are well known for their prowess in the tug of war, currently they are the East and Central Africa champions of the game," she stated.

Andenga says the good preparations have instilled in the teams confidence which has seen them win their matches with ease.

"In fact, most teams fear us, they are talking about us now, the tournament is technically ours to lose now," she says.

Evans Ochieng, who plays position seven in the men's squad, echoes Andenga's sentiments saying this is their year of glory.

Ochieng says they give each game a tactical approach which has resulted in easy victories.

"We make everything intentional, from the way we position our legs, angle our shoulders, hold our breath, conduct our upward and downward movements and jerk the ropes have all been practised," he stated.

Ochieng says the men's team winning bronze last year was a very exciting achievement.

"It was a very big deal for us because it had never happened before," he said.

And what does it take to be a tug of war player?

Ochieng says the game is fun but one needs to develop passion, endurance and lots of strength training.

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