Defending champions Resolution Impala Saracens and last year’s losing finalist Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), both have the chance to book their place in this year’s Impala Floodlits final when four teams reconvene at the Impala Club Sports Ground Saturday in the tournament’s semi-final match-ups.
The two met in the final last year and after bruising end-to-end encounter, Impala sneaked in a 33-32 full time score to run away with the title and should each team win their respective semifinals, they will once again set a rematch final on Saturday, at the same venue.
The Sarries sat out in last weekend’s quarterfinal contests by virtue of earning a bye and will come up against a team that simply loves the ‘Floodies’, Mean Machine RFC, in the opening main cup semifinal. Machine reached the last four with an 11-6 victory over Strathmore Leos and Machine’s coach Dan Mubea is banking on their good run in this tournament and their preparedness to see off the defending champions and book a slot in the finals.
“The boys are prepared well to take on the Impala Saracens this weekend and will be out to showcase some interesting rugby and the Machine spirit. Floodlits has been one of the tournaments machine does pretty well and bring in crowds. It won’t be any different this weekend.
We know that Impala would have prepared well for this game but being a finals match it’s who will show up that day. We hope that we will be the ones celebrating come the final whistle,” said coach Mubea. His counter and Resolution Impala Saracens Backs coach Oscar Osir is cautious of meeting Machine but remains optimistic of beating them after all. “We did not play last weekend. Every first match of the season must have ‘pre-season/off season cobwebs’.
You can have inhouse matches against each other, but if you don’t challenge yourself against a different team, you’ll always have a scratchy start to the Kenya Cup/ESS league. Our off-season has been good. I am happy about our preparations so far.
We are however not a well oiled machine yet, but I believe this weekend is going to be a good test for us. If the weather goes to the dogs, it will throw a spanner in the works, but we seek to adapt as fast as we can,” said Osir. The Impala/Machine match will pave way for a battle of Titans pitting last year’s beaten finalists KCB against red-hot Menengai Creame Homeboyz.
The two sides reached this stage in contrasting fashions, with KCB putting in a sketchy performance that at times had their fans’ heart rates oscillating before claiming a hard fought 20-14 win over newbies Resolution Kisii RFC while the deejays staged a stunning second half comeback, recovering from a 3-16 half time deficit, scoring 17 unanswered points en route to a 20-16 win over Quins.
And ahead of meeting again, the bankers have an upper hand over the deejaz in fifteens meetings and team manager Ronney Kangeta is hoping of this history to once again favour them. “Yes we have won most of our 15 games against Homeboyz and we are hoping for the same against them this Saturday, though we definitely are not expecting a walkover after their come back last weekend against Quins.
We cannot take them for granted, we will play our best rugby despite our regulars not being there (away with the national team), we will also be testing our new game plan and definitely the game will be bruising and whoever will have the mental strength to keep going, will win it,” TM Kangeta told PD Wikendi. Homeboyz on their side are plotting to end this trend and head coach Paul Murunga says, “Yes KCB is a good side but Homeboyz is equally a good team and the boyz are ready for a tough game.
If they are able to play according to the structure then it will be easier to manage the game and win,” coach Paul Murunga said. In the meantime, hard-fighting Kisii RFC will come up against Sportpesa Quins in the club plate semi-final with the winner of this match booking a date with Strathmore Leos in the plate final at the same venue on Saturday 18 November. The two sides exited the main cup competition last weekend, Quins letting a 16-3 lead slip, falling 16-20 to Homeboyz while Kisii were plucky, making life difficult for KCB before going down 14-20.
The action-packed Saturday will have the university category competition get the day’s proceedings underway with on-form and last year’s beaten finalist Blak Blad taking on Catholic Monks in a semi-final, scheduled at the RFUEA from 1.45pm.
Blad reached the varsity semis with a 57-0 blitz of MKU Thika while the Monks posted a 15-8 victory over the Daystar Falcons. Holders Menengai Oilers will face Technical University of Kenya in the second semifinal taking place concurrently at the same time with this match staged at the Impala Club. Oilers were too strong for Mean Machine II, cruising to a 39-3 win while TUK edged Strathmore Catulus 16-8 in the quarters last weekend.